Gambling Considerations Blocking Tribal Recognition by US
A North Carolina tribe seeking federal recognition has found a debate over gambling privileges may block its efforts. The Lumbee Tribal Council has hired a gaming consulting firm as lobbyist for the tribe in Washinton, despite lawmakers advising that attempts to include gaming rights in any recognition would doom the effort.
Congress has made routine the denial of recognition to new tribes without a waiver of gambling privileges over the last decade or more, as groups seeking to exploit casino operating rights have cynically sought to register with the government. Lumbee attornies had assured lawmakers the tribe would not pursue casino operations.
But a contract between the tribe and Lewin International has brought that into question. Lewin specializes in advising gambling industry members, and promised in the contract to seek to avoid language in any recognition deal that would prevent gambling operations by the Lumbees.
Many tribal members are upset at the turn approved by the council, saying they would not risk the federal funding available through recognition for housing and education on a stand for gaming.
"We've said all along we don't want gaming, we want recognition," said Beth Jacobs, an outspoken tribal member leading the cry against the Lewin deal. "It makes us look like liars."
The Lumbee have been recognized by North Carolina since the 1880s, but federal action has awarded then Indian status but denied specific tribal recognition.
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