Robesonian

Godwin seeking re-election as tribal chairman

LUMBERTON — Harvey Godwin Jr. will seek re-election to the office of Lumbee tribal chairman.

The 64-year-old owner of Two Hawk Employment Services LLC in Lumberton will be seeking his second three-year term in the leadership role. He will be releasing videos on YouTube and on his Facebook page announcing his candidacy, and has purchased a full-page ad in today’s The Robesonian.

The tribal constitution states a person can serve two consecutive terms as chairman, but then must wait three years before running for the office again.

Godwin is the second person to announce as a candidate for the chairmanship. Raymond Cummings, chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, announced in late June.

The tribal election is scheduled for Nov. 13. Candidates can begin filing on Monday. Filing ends at 5 p.m. on Sept. 7. Winning candidates will be sworn in during January.

The sitting tribal chairman has been a member of the Lumberton Rotary Club for 18 years and served as president for two years. He serves on the committee for the Julian T. Pearce Memorial Scholarship Initiative.

Godwin had not served in any other tribe government or administrative role before being elected chairman.

“Throughout my life I have felt a need to help people in need,” Godwin said.

It was the need to help others that led him to seek to office of chairman the first time, Godwin said. He believed he had the necessary skill sets to help improve the lives of all people, not just members of the Lumbee Tribe, and to move the tribe forward.

Through his work in Lumberton over the past 25 years he has built collaborative relationships and he thought he could bring those relationships with him to the tribal chairman position and use them to improve the lives of tribal members.

“In order to be effective, you have to collaborate with others,” Godwin said.

It was working with local, state and federal agencies, and with local businesses, civic organizations and churches that his administration was able to accomplish much of what it did, he said.

One of those accomplishments was settling non-compliance complaints brought to the tribe after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development audit of the 2015 tribal budget.

“That took two years,” Godwin said.

The tribe launched a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program earlier this month in collaboration with U.S. Department of Labor and the N.C. Department of Commerce. The program helps homeless veterans find homes and jobs. It is the first program of its kind in Indian Territory.

The historical drama “Strike at the Wind!” was brought back through a collaboration with The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, he said. And negotiations are underway to have the play brought back to the tribe’s Cultural Center, to which a powwow has been returned.

“Both of these are economic drivers and job creators,” Godwin said.

Project Access was put in place during his administration, Godwin said. The project is a collaboration between the tribe and UNCP, Robeson Community College and the Public Schools of Robeson County that allows students to leave high school with a two-year college degree.

Multiple collaborative programs have been put in place or are being pursued to build more homes of Lumbee tribe members, he said.

“I’m very excited about the progress we’ve made in the past three years, and I’m excited about the progress we can make in the next three years,” Godwin said.

Godwin and his wife, Shelia, have two sons and a 13-year-old granddaughter, Journey. Their oldest son, Cody Eaglehorse Godwin, is the chief financial officer of Two Hawk Employment Services LLC. Their youngest son, Quinn West Godwin, is a regional outreach liaison officer for Gov. Roy Cooper.

They live in the Moss Neck community.

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T.C. Hunter

Managing editor

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at tchunter@robesonian.com.