The following is the State of the Tribe address delivered by Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin on July 3.
Thankful for the opportunity to serve as your chairman. Hard job but there is nowhere else I’d be right now that before each of you discussing our people. Proud to be the Chairman but more importantly like Willie Lowery sings, “I’m proud to be Lumbee.”
A lot has happened since the last time I stood before you:
Thankful for the issues the Tribal Council has taken up and worked for our people this year.
Tribal Enrollment The very first Lumbee History Class will be held tonight. This will give us an opportunity to teach people about our history.
Continuing the Scholarships for our Lumbee Students using money from our annual powwow
Making it possible for members to view our meetings through Live Streaming
Working to protect our member’s sovereignty and expression. Protecting cultural expression for our youth
Working to come up with a way for the Administration and the Tribal Council to work together to further our Economic Development and created a structure for Lumbee Tribe Holdings that we can agree to.
Hurricane Florence came through the tribal territory. Our people rose to the challenge like we have always done. Determined to make the best from the situation, like we always do.
Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence will result in flourishing for the Tribal area. It has created partnerships with organizations like JP/HRO to uplift our community.
The Lumbee Tribe working with AMERIND Risk, repaired 178 tribally owned units following Hurricane Florence. In an effort to serve members who suffered damage to their homes the housing department created a Disaster Services Rehab program
We are in the middle of an opioid epidemic. The Tribe is proud to partner with organizations like Southeastern Health, Robeson Health Care, and our First Responders to address this issue head on.
Prayers for people in rehab.
Local and Tribal Elections have once again come and gone. We now have two Lumbee Women, Judge Brooke Locklear Clark and Judge Angelica Chavis McIntyre serving in the North Carolina court system as district court judges. A Lumbee and Tribal Supreme Court Justice, Matt Scott, is now the District Attorney for Robeson County, holding the same office Joe Freeman Britt did.
Strike at the Wind is returning to the amphitheater. July 9 – 11. Our community will be able to experience SATW in its original home.
And last weekend, LumBEEs: Women of the Dark Water reminded us of the talent of our people, particularly our Lumbee Women. We are talented Story Tellers, Singers, Dancers, Craftsman, and Visual Artists.
We must continue this in the generations to come. It is one of our most important traditions, work with our Elders and share with the youth. Pass down our cultural and artistic talents.
– This year we received the results from the 2018 Monitoring Visit. That visit resulted in the best review of the Tribe’s Housing Department in over 10 years.
– Last month as a part of Title VI Loan project we completed a mini monitoring review, after which our ONAP office gave us a clean bill of health.
– The federal government requires an annual financial audit of our tribal government and grants. This week we received our annual financial audit, from Stauffer & Associates, that resulted in no findings. It will be presented to the Council next week at the Finance Committee.
Our Culture Center continues to blossom:
Swimming Pool is open for the 2nd year
3rd year of the Community Garden
Partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield and KaBOOM to construct the first inclusive playground in our area.
Our people are a proud people, a determined people. That’s what unites us. And we have got to spend more time focusing on what unites us. We can disagree and we will but at the end of the day we are not going to be successful if can’t move past our disagreements and differences. We all bring something unique and needed to the table. If we as people are going to continue to be successful we MUST put our personal feelings aside and focus on what unites us … the love for our people.
I challenge each of you to become more engaged with our tribal community and our government. Come to meetings, share your opinions and engage in respectful and productive dialogue. Become involved with our Boys and Girls Clubs. Come to the powwow, the fall festival, prayer service. Engage with your leaders but more importantly engage with each other. Begin mentoring our younger generation; they are the ones who will carry on our fight. Ensure they are armed with the tools they need. Take the opportunity to learn from them, to connect and understand their concerns and experiences, how we can better learn from them.
Today I will submit to Speaker Burnett my proposed 2019-2020 budget.
I am committed to working with our Tribal Council to continue building our Tribal Community. We will leave it stronger and better, just like our ancestors have. We’re building on their legacy to create a future for the next generation.
The Preamble to the Lumbee Constitution calls for us all to protect and preserve the Lumbee way of life. The Lumbee way of life is caring for others, protecting and helping each other. While still maintaining our distinct spirit of resilience and independence.
I’m proud to say that our preamble is a guiding principle in everything our Tribal Government plans for the coming year.
This year’s budget looks at what we do well and builds on that. How can we care for our people? How can we serve their needs?
We will be:
Continuing our partnerships with UNCP, Robeson Community College and Public Schools to create new educational opportunities for our school aged children
Project Access – will be ending in September but
Project 3C will pick back up open to students throughout the Tribal Territory
The 2 projects have created unlimited summer programs for our students
First Champions of Youth Gala to raise unrestricted monies to support our Youth Services Department
Thank you to this year’s Champions (listed on the wall at the Boys and Girls Club)
Continue the Student Vouchers program
New Housing that will be Resilient.
Safe in the face of storms.
Creating the Dream Catcher Communities for those Tribal members who need a little time before becoming homeowners.
The idea for Dream Catcher was born following Hurricane Matthew. When the shortage of safe and sanitary affordable rental housing was on full display
Just because you can’t afford to purchase a home now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to affordable rental housing. Being a renter doesn’t make you less
Coach those tribal members up into being ready for Homeownership
Community wide Financial Education Classes.
Extend our subdivisions Cheraw Acres, Autumn Chase
Create new communities w/i the tribal territory. Looking at locations in Cumberland County and Scotland County to create new housing subdivisions
Major Building Projects that will begin this year
Rowland Elders Complex
Working with Robeson County to get a Community Development Block Grant to put additional funds into the project
Continuing to build the Allenton Duplexes
Dream Catcher Communities in Prospect, Union Chapel, and Rayham
Tribal HUD VASH Have one of the best Tribal HUD VASH in country and the best in the Eastern/Woodlands Office. We are working to address the homelessness issue for our veterans.
We will end homelessness in this area for those who served this country. LTNC is proud to serve those who defended our freedom.
Continue providing services for those living in our housing. Committed to creating safe and enriching spaces for tribal members:
Resident Services for Elders and Youth
Senior Solutions Extended the program this year. Hired another person to provide services to our Elders
Recovery Housing : Opioid Epidemic is here and it’s real. We will continue looking for new and innovative ways to serve those community members who are in crisis.
That includes creating long-term recovery/supportive housing for those who are in need.
Partner with our community partners, Southeastern Health and Robeson Health Care to provide the services needed along with the four walls and roof.
Disaster Services Program that was added last year will continue. Will allow LTNC to be ready to provide rehabilitation services to members suffering from damage as a result of natural disasters
Thanks to the hard work of LTNC staff, including our Tribal Administrator, we have received monies from FEMA to help restore Hayes Pond.
Will be receiving additional monies from FEMA to work on the Culture Center Dam $4.7 million dollars.
This year we will continue our quest for Federal Recognition. A road our people have been on since 1888.
Currently have bills in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.
House Rep G.K. Butterfield and Rep. Richard Hudson
Senate Senator Richard Burr
Enjoy Bi- partisan support this time and the support of other Tribal Nations.
My great grand father signed the first petition for federal recognition. I don’t want my grand daughter to have to continue on this fight. It’s past time for our people to fully federally recognized by the Federal Government.
If we are going to work towards recognition then we are going to have to come together. More often than not we can be our worst enemy. That’s got to stop. If we’re going to be successful this time we have to come together and be united. We have to put aside our past hurts and personal dislikes and agendas. Focus on what unites us. We’re all Lumbee. We all want to leave our people in better place. Let that be our guiding principle and find some way you can help make Full Federal Recognition a real thing. Volunteer your time and talents. Contact your elected representatives. Hold them accountable. Let them know our expectations and expect results.
It’s time to get Full Federal Recognition done for the people!
We are not an island in the swamp it takes all of us coming together to get the things we need to do done and leave this place better than we found it.
Lumbee Tribe’s Political Power
The Lumbee Tribe is a major player in the economy of the state of North Carolina. Our Tribal Government operates a multi million-dollar budget each year, we’re one of the largest landowners in our tribal territory, and employ over 100 people.
Our role in the economy will grow as 8A corporations flourish. Not only does our successful 8A grow our local economy but it will help secure the financial independence of the Lumbee Tribe.
We are seeing profits from LTE. As LTH cultivates and grows new companies those profits will continue to grow.
Thankful for the Tribal Council working with me on the LTH Board.
What do those profits mean?
They mean support of Tribal members Educational goals
Scholarships for our kids
Financial support for our Elder’s groups.
Health care opportunities for Members
Support for Tribal Members Entrepreneurial Spirit
Those profits are a means to provide for and preserve the Lumbee way of life for all time. I am thankful for visionaries like our former Council Member Kernice Locklear who made 8A a reality for the Lumbee people.
8A is helping to make us a strong economic power in this region but that’s not the only power the Lumbee have.
United together our tribal members have strong unmatched political voices. There may be others out there who have more money and more lobbyists that we do but they’ll never be able to match the power and influence we have when we vote!
We have got get our people registered and get them to the polls when Election Day comes around. Henry Berry and others fought hard for our right to vote. To be heard. To be represented. We cannot let those efforts be in vain.
There is power in our voting block, it’s time we fully exercised it. People often say we’re too big to be recognized or we’re too big to receive these services. These people are wrong. Our people have always been inclusive. The Lumbee way has not been nor will it ever be cutting off others, or changing who we are to fit someone else. Our size is our strength. People can out spend ups but if our people go to the ballot box, they will never be able to out vote us!
This year the Tribal Council passed a resolution in support of Four Directions Get out the Vote efforts. Four Directions is a non-partisan get out the vote project, to encourage our Members to Register, and show up on election-day. Their work will help make sure that our hard earned rights are protected when we cast those ballots.
Not only do we need to vote, we need to make sure our Tribal Members complete the upcoming Census. We have got to make sure that our people are counted! The Census matters.
There are people, including the EBCI, spending money every day in Washington, D. C. and Raleigh to derail every initiative the Lumbee put forward and that is not limited to Federal Recognition. We would hope that our Elected representatives wouldn’t take money from those who discredit our Indianess and advocate against the Lumbee.
We have bills pending in the NC General Assembly. Senate Bill 218
will clarify the language recognizing that recognizes our tribal government and make us eligible for additional grants.
It time we recognized and used our political power to ensure these and other necessary initiatives are passed.
The Lumbee are the Lumbee. We are not trying to be anyone other than who we are. We’re not trying to be any other Tribe.
We are who we are, because of where we come from and what we value:
Our Belief in God
The focus our people have put on education
Our entrepreneurial spirit
Our connection to our culture and steadfast belief in who we are
And whether the Federal Government recognizes us or not. And whether other groups like the EBCI like it or not.
We are Indian. We are Lumbee Indians.
We are not going anywhere. And will continue to thrive. We will take care of each other and continue to fight for each other and rise. Just like we always have.
We are the Mighty Lumbee.
Protecting now and forever the Lumbee way of Life.