Raj KAJ (scottobear) wrote,

Lumbee Indians.

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<p><img alt="" src="https://i2.wp.com/scottobear.com/clearpixel.gif?resize=1%2C1" &quot;/" data-recalc-dims="1" /><a href="https://tools.digitalpoint.com/geovisitors"><img style="border: 0;" alt="Geotarget" src="https://i1.wp.com/geo.digitalpoint.com/a.png?resize=0%2C0" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><br /> ref: on Roanoke, for a future tale (thanks to <a class="lj-user" href="http://ldy.livejournal.com/">ldy</a> for putting me onto a new information trail!)<br /> <lj-cut text="Read the rest of this entry &raquo;"><br /> The Lumbee Indians are a Native American tribe located on the banks of the Lumbee River (known in contemporary times as the Lumber River) in North Carolina. The primary cultural influence for modern day Lumbees is their Cheraw ancestry, but they have assimilated members of various neighboring tribes. Many historians believe that the Lumbee also absorbed the settlers of the &#8220;lost colony&#8221; of Roanoke, one of the first white settlements in the United States. Numbering well over 40,000 individuals, the Lumbee are the largest tribe east of the Mississippi, and the ninth largest tribe nationwide.</p> <p>The colony on Roanoke Island was Sir Walter Raleigh&#8217;s second attempt to colonize North America. The first batch of colonists, dispatched in 1584, was composed primarily of gentlemen farmers who were so ill-suited to the hardships of colonial life that they returned to England after just a few months in America. Raleigh, determined to stake his claim in the New World, sent a second group of 117 settlers to establish a Virginia colony in 1587. These colonists, under the leadership of John White, landed on Roanoke Island and promptly went about building an outpost.</p> <p>Though this second group of colonists was of a hardier mettle than the first, they landed on Roanoke Island in the midst of summer, much too late to begin planting crops to provide them with food for the rest of the year. As the Roanoke colonists prepared to face their first winter in America, they found themselves abysmally short on supplies. So their intrepid leader, John White, agreed to sail back to England and return with additional food in time to see them through the winter.</p> <p>Alas, Europe was in a state of war, and John White had to wait in England for three years before he could return to the Roanoke Colony. When he finally made it back in 1590, he found the settlement completely abandoned. The only clue as to the settlers&#8217; whereabouts was an enigmatic message carved into a gatepost: &#8220;Croatoan.&#8221; White concluded that the message was meant to direct him to the settler&#8217;s new place of residence, the island of Croatan (known today as Hatteras Island), home of the Cheraw Indians.</p> <p>However, Sir Walter Raleigh&#8217;s patent of discovery for the area had expired, and he decided that there was little financial benefit to searching for the lost settlers. A few poorly funded search parties were conducted throughout the next decade, with no results. Though there were no signs of violence or foul play, the English eventually concluded that the colonists were victims of an attack by the Croatoan Indians, who had apparently murdered every last man, woman, and child (including the famous Virginia Dare, the first white baby born in America). For the next 300 years, historians would concur with this assessment.</p> <p>Though there were a few tribes in the area that were hostile to the English newcomers, the Cheraw were not one of them. In fact, the Cheraw were friendly and generally nonviolent, and had a long history of welcoming members from other cultures, mostly stragglers from other tribes. Sometime during the 17th century, the Cheraw of Croatan migrated south to escape the encroaching white settlements, as the English settlers were not as open to the idea of sharing land as the Cheraw. Upon arriving in present day Robeson County, the Cheraw probably absorbed or were absorbed by a Native American population that had existed in that vicinity since prehistory. There is evidence that Native Americans had been living in the area for millennia, but the specific history of these original residents as well as the details of the Cheraw migration are still a matter of anthropological investigation.</p> <p>Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, there are many English accounts of interaction with a Native American tribe in northeastern North Carolina, who referred to themselves as &#8220;The People of the Lumbee River.&#8221; Though the Lumbees practiced many customs that were considered &#8220;savage&#8221; by the Whites, they also had many practices that were curiously reminiscent of European culture. Rather than living in mud huts as did many of the neighboring tribes, this tribe lived in stone houses and log cabins. They had knowledge of reading and writing, and were familiar with Christianity, despite the fact that missionaries had not yet visited them. They spoke their own language (a derivation of the Algonquin, Tuscarora, and Cheraw languages), but they also spoke a sort of pidgin English with remarkable fluency. Some of the Lumbees were vaguely European in appearance, with pale complexions, curly hair that was often brown or even blonde in color, and blue or green eyes. Finally, the vast majority of the Lumbees possessed the same family names as the original colonists of Roanoke Island.</p> <p>The mixed racial characteristics of the Lumbee people have been both a blessing and a curse throughout their history. In the 1830s, the Indian Removal Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. The act mandated the removal of all American Indians east of the Mississippi onto government reservations located in Oklahoma, initiating what is now known as the &#8220;Trail of Tears.&#8221; The Lumbee managed to escape the horrific fate of their Cherokee neighbors because the federal government felt that the Lumbee were too &#8220;white&#8221; in appearance to justify moving them to Oklahoma.</p> <p>Before, during, and after the American Civil War, the Lumbees intermarried with escaped and freed black slaves. The Lumbee practice of assimilating blacks into their cultural melting pot led to rampant discrimination and oppression by the white majority during the middle 19th century. The Lumbee were regarded as the lowest of the low on all fronts &#8211; too black to be Indian, too red to be Caucasian, and too white to be considered Negro. The Lumbee&#8217; own assertion that, regardless of skin tone, their cultural heritage qualified them as Native American fell on deaf ears. White animosity was compounded by the fact that the Lumbee were not poverty-stricken reservation dwellers, but, quite to the contrary, had built a thriving social, economic, and political base in the city of Pembroke and owned some of the richest farmland in North Carolina. In the 1860s, the assault and murder of entire Lumbee families was not uncommon, and the perpetrators not only escaped prosecution, but were often granted the right to seize the victim&#8217;s farmland.</p> <p>In 1885, after academic interest arose in the origins of the Lumbee, they were officially recognized as a tribe by the state legislature of North Carolina, and in 1888, the state constitution was changed to recognize the Lumbee and other tribes as citizens. The official tribal name would undergo many changes over the next few decades, and the tribe was known alternatively as the Indians of Robeson County, the Croatan, Croatoan, and Robeson Cherokee. In 1953, the North Carolina General Assembly finally changed the name of the tribe to Lumbee, which is what they had been calling themselves all along.</p> <p>Having achieved state recognition, the Lumbees set about obtaining federal recognition of their tribe, leading to the introduction of no less than 12 different Lumbee-related bills in Congress over the last century. In 1956, the federal government officially recognized the Lumbee as Native American, but stopped short of declaring them to be a &#8220;tribe,&#8221; thus denying the Lumbee any federal subsidies for healthcare, housing, and cultural education. Reasons for the lack of federal recognition are varied, but are most commonly linked to their genetic ties to white settlers; the Lumbees supposedly do not have the requisite &#8220;percentage of Native blood.&#8221; The Lumbee petition for federal recognition is also hindered by the fact that their ancestral language has been wholly replaced by the Lumbee English dialect, a curious mixture of modern American slang, Native American vocabulary, and the Elizabethan English used by the early settlers.</p> <p>By the by, the official stance on the disappearance of the Roanoke Island colony remains unchanged, and the federal government suggests that it is just as likely that the colonists all perished from starvation or simply vanished into thin air. The National Park Service&#8217;s literature on the colony makes no mention of the Lumbee and declares that &#8220;the fate of the lost colonists remains one of the great mysteries of American history.&#8221;</p> <p>Assorted Sources&#8230; Gotta love the internet.<br /> <a href="http://www.bartleby.com/65/lu/Lumbee.html" target="_blank">http://www.bartleby.com/65/lu/Lumbee.html</a><br /> <a href="http://classweb.gmu.edu/mgabel/nclc110_1997/lumbee.htm" target="_blank">http://classweb.gmu.edu/mgabel/nclc110_1997/lumbee.htm</a><br /> <a href="http://www.geocities.com/bigorrin/lumb.htm" target="_blank">http://www.geocities.com/bigorrin/lumb.htm</a><br /> <a href="http://www.lumbee.org" target="_blank">http://www.lumbee.org</a><br /> <a href="http://www.lumbeetribe.com/" target="_blank">http://www.lumbeetribe.com/</a><br /> <a href="http://www.members.tripod.com/~redheart/thelostcolony.htm" target="_blank">http://www.members.tripod.com/~redheart/thelostcolony.htm</a><br /> <a href="http://www.meyna.com/lumbee.html" target="_blank">http://www.meyna.com/lumbee.html</a><br /> <a href="http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/stud_orgs/native_american/nctribes_orgs/lumbee.html" target="_blank">http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/stud_orgs/native_american/nctribes_orgs/lumbee.html</a><br /> <a href="http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/univ_relations/news_services/press_releases/98_11/374.htm" target="_blank">http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/univ_relations/news_services/press_releases/98_11/374.htm</a><br /> <a href="http://www.nps.gov/fora/search.htm" target="_blank">http://www.nps.gov/fora/search.htm</a><br /> <a href="http://www.uncp.edu/nativemuseum/right.html" target="_blank">http://www.uncp.edu/nativemuseum/right.html</a><br /> <a href="http://www.millersv.edu/~columbus/papers/nixon-02.html" target="_blank">http://www.millersv.edu/~columbus/papers/nixon-02.html</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>see also original comment thread on lj &#8211; <a href="http://scottobear.livejournal.com/1133625.html" target="_blank">http://scottobear.livejournal.com/1133625.html</a></p> </lj-cut><p><small>Originally published at <a href="http://www.svonberg.org/2002/07/lumbee-indians/">The Scotto Grotto (org)</a>. You can comment here or <a href="http://www.svonberg.org/2002/07/lumbee-indians/#comments">there</a>.</small></p>
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