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Lumbee Constitution focus of tribal meeting

By Aaron Woods
Staff Writer

The next Lumbee Tribal Council meeting is scheduled for March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Cape Fear Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

This is the first of three Tribal Council meetings that will be held outside Pembroke.  Others include the July meeting to be held in Laurinburg and the November meeting in Fairmont.

The Lumbee Tribe’s Feb. 23 meeting centered on the Lumbee Constitution at the Comtec Complex in Pembroke.

The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina held a meeting concerning the Lumbee Constitution at the COMtech Complex in Pembroke on Feb. 23.

Photo by Aaron Woods
The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina held a meeting concerning the Lumbee Constitution at the COMtech Complex in Pembroke on Feb. 23.

Under the Lumbee Constitution there is independent self-governance.   The tribe is recognized by the state as an Indian nation.

The Lumbee Constitution sets up three constructive powers: power of recall, power of referendum, and power of initiative.

There are three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.
           
First, in the legislative branch, there is a 21-member embodiment, which is the Tribal Council.

Second, is the executive branch, which makes up the office of the Tribal Chairman.

Third, is the judicial branch, which oversees the Constitution of the Tribe.  In the legislative branch, the Tribal Council makes the decisions for the tribe.

In the executive branch, the Tribal Chairman has all executive power. The Chairman has veto power, but the Tribal Council can override the Chairman by two-thirds votes.

The judicial branch hears cases that are to be voted on by the Tribal Council.

There is a system of checks and balances making sure there is balance among all branches; one branch has no more power than another branch.

When asked about the Constitution, Lawrence Locklear, speaker of the tribal council, said, "It is very important. It is a document that gives us everything we need. All decisions are made by the three bodies."

Other tribes, Locklear said, "have two branches of government while larger tribes have a Constitution similar to the Lumbee Constitution.

"The Constitution does not take any rights away from the Lumbee tribe," Locklear said.
  
Under consideration is the decision of federal recognition for the Lumbee tribe. Speaker Locklear said, "We feel pretty good about it. Timing is everything."

Rep. Mike McIntyre, Sen. Richard Burr, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and Sen. John McCain are supporters of the bill.

Those in attendance at the Lumbee Tribal Council meeting included Ray "Little Turtle," appointed member of the Commission of Indian Affairs, Bosco Locklear, director of housing for the Lumbee Tribe, and Leon Jacobs, tribal administrator.

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Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
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