To the Editor,
The policies and practices of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina make it difficult for tribal members to receive services. Additionally, quality communication to tribal members is not a priority of the LTNC.
In order to receive the most basic information about available services, tribal members must take off work (possibly endangering their employment), secure child, adult or elder care (incurring costs) and locate transportation (often times with hardship). These inconveniences would be avoided if income criteria, program guidelines, eligibility requirements, types of housing facilities fundable, and all other general information were made available to tribal members via the tribal website www.lumbeetribe.com. An initial visit gets you a piece of paper and a lot of verbal instructions that result in a second visit to provide required documents. If there is misunderstanding, third and fourth visits become necessary. These practices are not “like a good neighbor”, so LTNC needs to learn some lessons from State Farm and other “good hands” models.
If a tribal member stops by the Lumbee Tribal Housing Complex at 6984 N.C. 711, there are some brochures with program service information. These brochures are limited and have not remained current as changes in program services have been made. Additionally, don’t pass the brochures to anyone who doesn’t know where the building is located because the brochures list the address as 6984 Highway 74.
The expensive electronic billboard located at the LTHC is most frequently used as a no-smoking and speed limit sign. Information concerning tribal meetings, events and community enrichment opportunities is not frequently communicated through this highly visible means. Tribal administration has repeatedly been asked to be more diligent in ensuring that the information displayed is information relevant to the Lumbee that might not be advertised in other public venues. Pow wows, state tribal conferences, education opportunities, administration walk in and appointment scheduling and enrollment updates are just a few items that come to mind as being worthy of posting on the billboard.
These environments that exist today within the LTNC don’t cultivate unity. Unity is desirable when those being courted are shown appreciation and the benefits to collaboration. The noble people of the Lumbee deserve much better. As we lift the turtle shell to see what’s under it, I hope we will have unity in demanding better.
Eric R. Locklear