Lumberton Spring Break Trip- Cultural Learning and Experiences

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By Evan Dancy, Class of 2019

On a cold and rainy spring break morning, 11 students from UNC School of Law departed from our home on the hill and caravanned south to the town of Lumberton, North Carolina. Thanks to our intrepid leader, Allison Standard, we all arrived at our hotel safely and in record time.

Our first stop was at the Lumbee Tribal Housing Headquarters. We arrived at a rather unique building that was in the shape of a turtle, and is in fact known to member of the community as “the turtle building.” We learned about the history of the Lumbee Tribe, including a system of government that facilitates voting for all its members. As a sovereign nation, the Lumbee tribe has their own judicial, legislative, and executive branch. The Lumbee government implements and executes various government programs, like the housing program, which helps build and repairs homes for low income families in the area, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which places A/C units in homes for families in need.

We first met with Danielle McLean, who is the Compliance Officer for the Lumbee Tribe (and a double Tar Heel). She gave us a tour of the building. She introduced us to various Lumbee government officials, and we met a few of the council members, who are a part of the legislative body of the Tribe. She primary does compliance work for the tribe, but she also represents the Lumbee’s in their effort to obtain recognition with the federal government.

We next met with Kaya Littleturtle (It is interesting that his first name means Turtle, so his full name is Turtle Littleturtle.). Kaya is the cultural liaison for the Lumbee Tribe and gave us a brief history of the Lumbee tribe. We learned the Lumbee tribe is an amalgamation of various tribes that came together to learn and support each other. The Lumbee Tribe is the largest tribe this side of the Appalachian Mountains (and the ninth largest in the nation). A majority of its members are found in Robeson, Scotland, Hoke, and Cumberland Counties, but you can find Lumbee communities in Baltimore and Detroit as well. The Lumbee derive their name from the Lumber river, which flowed directly through their territory.

Afterwards, we attended a culture class at the Local Boys and Girls Club. We learned about the various educational opportunities available to members of the Lumbee Tribe. We listened to a local drum group, and we participated in tribal dances. We then headed over to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner, and then it was back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before our first clinic begins.
Posted by Allison Standard Constance on Tue. March 28, 2017 9:43 AM
Categories: General, Spring Break 2017
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106

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