Tribal Council creates 2nd budget to account for extra money to respond to COVID-19

Tomeka Sinclair Staff writer

PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council approved on Thursday a CARES Act Budget to account for additional money received to “prevent, prepare and respond” to COVID-19.

The budget is separate from the tribe’s IHBG-CARES budget, which was created to manage $4.5 million allocated to the tribe in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and funneled through the Indian Housing Block Grant program earlier this month.

“It’s a whole separate budget,” Finance Committee Chairperson Pam Hunt said during the meeting held via Zoom and Live Stream.

Line items in the budget include $25,000 for the Boys and Girls Club for information technology, a donation from Carolina and Complete Health in the amount of $2,500 for general assistance to Lumbee Tribe members, $453,920 from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and $362,267 from a Community Services Block Grant.

In other business, council members voted to rescind a resolution to buy Food Lion gift cards to distribute to Lumbee Tribe members.

The resolution called for the Health and Human Services Committee to buy $25,000 in Food Lion gift cards that were to be given to needy tribe members negatively affected by COVID-19. Each of the 21 Tribal Council members would then distribute the cards to tribe members in their districts whom they feel are in need financially because of the new coronavirus.

Committee Chairperson Marshil Locklear said the committee would not say why the resolution was rescinded.

“It was discussed, and we decided we would not add a why,” Locklear said.

Also on Thursday, Council voted to reappoint Gwendolyn Chavis to a two-year term on the United Tribes of North Carolina board of directors.

Chief Judge Joshua Malcom, of the Lumbee Tribe Supreme Court, swore in Chavis via the internet.

“I wish I was there to shake your hand in person,” Malcom said.

The United Tribes of North Carolina is a nonprofit governed by a 13-member board of directors that represents the eight state recognized tribes, four urban American Indian centers of North Carolina, and Legal Aid of North Carolina (Pembroke office).

“I appreciate the support of the tribal council,” Chavis said.

The Council also scheduled an emergency called meeting for 7 p.m. Tuesday to appoint someone to the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs. Lumbee member Larece Hunt’s term expires June 30.

Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.