Title: Interview with Lumbee Hearings
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00008226/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Lumbee Hearings
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00008226
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 43

Table of Contents
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Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be

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the University of Florida

October 24, 1972
Brenda Brooks
Explain hearings

B: October 24, 1972. This is Brenda Brooks in my home, in Pembroke, North Carolina.

I would like to offer a little explanation to some of the tapes that I have sent

and will be sending, concerning the Civil Rights hearings held September 29 and

30, 1972, in Robeson County, concerning the political participation in the economic

situation of the Lumbee Indians in this county. As many of the Indians groups in

the eastern United States, we are somewhat isolated and have had no direct com-

munication with several agencies, as far as getting benefits that are afforded

recognized reservation Indians. And one particular tape that I am sending to you,

I feel deserves a little more explanation. This tape is concerning the ECIO

group. The number of that tape is number 5 Side 1. I feel a very great respon-

sibility, as far as this group of Indians in Robeson County is concerned. You may

detect a unique dialect in the testimony of some of these speakers. I think it is

important to send you this tape because it shows you some of the real gut feelings

that discrimination and poverty of the poor Lumbee Indians in Robeson County. The

leaders of the ECIO are very sincere workers. Their main issue is to get a

government recognized name, so that they will be able to get benefits that are

afforded Indians through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, because we, as Lumbee

Indians, in Robeson County, have been non-recognized Indians by the Federal

Government. We have been denied many educational, technical, vocational and

welfare benefits that have been afforded Indians on reservations. And I feel

that we who have had the privilege of getting some education, live in the more

centralized areas, near this town in Robeson County. The group which the ECIO

is representative of, are more of a grassroots people. We have neglected making

them feel a part of our total Indian Community in Robeson County, therefore, I

as well as many others, assume the responsibility for much ignorance and unaware-

ness that exists among our brothers who are now driving to get recognized as



Tuscarora Indians of Robeson County. Since we're scattered all over the area,

in Robeson County, one of the strategies that I feel could be used by the polit-

ical of the county, has been to block communications between the

various groups of Indians. And this is only my opinion, but I think, perhaps,

somewhere deep-rooted in the efforts of the ECIO, is some white maneuvering to

cause friction between groups of Indians within the county. The ECIO is as much

a part of the total Indian community of Robeson County, as I am. In the last

year, the effort, now, is prevelant, to get a federally recognized name,

Tuscarora, has been under the leadership of sincere, very fine men. Yet, they

are dealing with a small group that I feel could be led in a much more construc-

tive route than the route that they are taking, exerting effort over a name.

I have worked much among these poor Indian people, in a recent registration

drive. Often, I've visited homes in the area, in which many of the families from

the ECIO live. I often found 5 or 6 members, at one house, standing around one

person, reading a newspaper. They lack education. They lack it, to such an

extent, that they can not go to the factory, fill out an application, and get a

job. Many of the families who previously depended totally upon farming, as an

income, have nothing to turn to, now. Industry has taken many, many Indians in

Robeson County from cotton fields, where they worked, and often brought in 3 and

4 dollars a day, to factories where they are making a $1.60 an hour. Though this

is small, it is a great improvement over standing under a tobacco barn, from 6:30

in the morning until 5:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon, and going home with 3 or

4 dollars. Because the little farmer has seen his days, many of the Indians in

Robeson County suffer. He qualifies for assistance for the poor, because he's

poor, not becuase he's an Indian. He has difficulty getting these services,



because when he applies for welfare assistance, he has to confront someone who

doesn't know the feeling of not having money to buy food, not having adequate

housing, not having proper clothing. For example, 80% of the recipients of our

social services is Black and Indian. Whereas, 20% of the staff of social ser-

vices, is Black and Indian. Of 71 persons employed and the county social services

department, there are 12 Blacks, 50 Whites and 9 Indians.

It's just not comfortable to go and confront someone of a different race,

who doesn't know this feeling of discrimination, and the total meaning of

discrimination. Often, we, as Indians, ignore agencies just because we don't

want to confront someone and receive harassment or derogatory attitudes, there-

fore we have many cold, hungry, inadequately housed Indians in Robeson County.

And I feel that this group, the ECIO, Eastern Carolina Indian Organization, is

the proper name, is a prime example of what this poverty and neglect has done

for many, many Indians in Robeson County. Because of the lack of education,

many of the situations have been perpetual for years and years. Often, I went

to homes, during my registration drive, and I found small children at home, who

should have been in school. When I questioned them as to why, some said it was

too cold. It isn't easy to get up and hit a cold floor, that you can look

through and see the dirt below you, or you can look up and see the sky through the

ceiling. It takes more than just encouragement to leave this kind of environment,

and go into the Public School System which also discriminates. Since farming has

declined, it has created severe problems for many of the poor in our county. For

example, with the population of our county being 1/3 Indian, some of these figures

may help you understand how farming has affected the economy of the poor Lumbee

Indian, in Robeson County. In 1960, the county per capital income was six-seventy.

This placed the county among the nations 20 poorest counties. Over 50% Of the

houses are below standard, in Robeson County. For adults, 25 years, the medium



of schooling was about 7.9 grade. Until very recently, we had the county's school

system with the triple segregational schools, and the non-productive educational

system, even further hindered the Lumbee Indians from making a sizable progress

in this county. We did have many individuals who achieved success, however, most

of the Lumbee Indians have not attained nearly the potential that they possess.

May I say, at this time, if some of the tapes are not clear and I am sure, much

of the hearing has been omitted.....I became very involved in the hearing pro-

cess because I was a committee member. And, often, I did not flip my tape in time,

did not replace filled tapes with new ones. Therefore, much material may be

missing. However, I do intend to send a transcript of the entire hearing to you.

According to communications from the national commission on civil rights, I shall

be receiving my personal transcript, the first of January. I will try, immediately,

therefore, to forward an entire copy of the hearing, to you, if there is no

problem with getting such a transcript from the committee. By this, I mean if

there is no objection to my sending a copy of the hearing to someone outside of

the committee. I know that every member of the committee, will get a copy, how-

ever, I am not aware of the legalities involved in testing a copy to someone else.

I will clear this with my regional director and send a copy, if it is possible.

May I also suggest that your social studies department subscribe for the

Carolina Indian Voice, a monthly newspaper, now being published for the Indians

of North Carolina and their friends. It is published in Pembroke, North Carolina,

by the Lumbee Publishing Company, whose president is Brenda Brooks, myself. And

we are going to expand the four page journal to a six page full size newspaper,

beginning Jan. 1. It will be on subscription, and the mailing address for a

subscription is:

P.O. Box 1075
Pembroke, North Carolina.



A one year subscription will cost $5.00 plus 20( tax, or to buy a 2-year subscrip-

tion, now, you may get it for$8.00 plus 32C tax. I think it would be very in-

formative to have this document as a part of your Oral History of the Lumbee

Indians of Robeson County.

I know this tape has been probably somewhat rambling to the typist, but I

felt I should explain some of my tapes, and also, why I have not been more

actively involved in interviews. As all over the nation, we are in quite a

political era, right now,.andaespecially in North Carolina, and with the Lumbee

Indian becoming more, much more actively involved in the political process,

I feel a great responsibility in just making that an issue available for my fellow

Lumbee Indians, who here to for have been unaware. I do hope to forward many

tapes, through. I have appointments with many very interesting interviewees,

that look very promising, as far as back history and current happenings of the

Lumbee Indians. Please accept my apologies for some of the beginning of the

tapes. I was unaware that the first few inches of the tape is not sensitive and

Mr. Barton informed me, and I'm sorry if some of the interview, was omitted on

some of the tapes. I will fill in, to the best of my knowledge, any omission,

when I receive your transcribed copy of the tapes. I shall forward to you, with

this tape, an October issue of the Carolina Indian Voice. And on the back, you

will find a subscription application, if you are interested in subscribing.

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