Vote on Lumbee Bill Nears While Gambling Concerns Remain
Special Report - October 20, 2003
Reports from Washington D.C. indicate that a committee vote is nearing on S420LUMBEE ACKNOWLEDGMENT ACT OF 2003, a bill that would grant the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina federal recognition as an Indian tribe. A mid-September hearing was held on the bill, which is sponsored by North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole. Some, including the North Carolina Family Policy Council, have raised concerns that if Congress grants the Lumbees federal recognition, a major hurdle would have been cleared in the process of allowing the tribe the right to initiate gambling operations in Robeson County. This county is split down the middle by the I-95 corridor and serves as a major thoroughfare between New Jersey and Floridaan ideal location for luring gamblers from all across the East. Though supporters of the bill have touted the benefits that would come with federal recognition, little attention has been paid to the potential social and economic effects that a casino or casinos along the I-95 corridor could have on the state. If Congress approves the bill, the Lumbees would become the second federally recognized Indian tribe in North Carolina after the Eastern Band of Cherokees who opened a casino in 1997. The Harrahs Cherokee Casino has become the most popular private tourist destination in the state, attracting over 8,000 people a day and 3.3 million visitors a year.
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