Lumbee Indians Win First Round

A U.S. House committee has approved full federal recognition for the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina, despite an opposing vote by the state's only representative on the panel.

Representative Heath Shuler, a North Carolina Democrat, was one of seven members to vote against the bill. The bill would allow the Lumbees to get federal aid and benefits given to other tribes.

The Lumbees have been seeking federal status for more than a
century. The tribe has 50,000 members and could receive 80
million dollars annually with federal recognition.

Shuler's district includes the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. He has said he prefers a different approach for giving the Lumbees recognition. He is sponsoring a bill that would allow the Lumbees to go through the Bureau of Indian Affairs' process for gaining recognition, which involves looking at genealogy and history of the tribe.