Forging Recognition, Identity

Forging Recognition, Identity
Lumbee family members outside their Robeson County home, circa 1895–1915.

On February 10, 1885, the American Indians now known as Lumbees were legally recognized by the General Assembly. The act designated the tribe as Croatan, which reflected the idea from the time that the group was descended from the “Lost Colony” settlers.

For many years, the government pushed American Indians of the Robeson County region to declare themselves either white or African American. They had to deny their heritage for their children to attend public schools. State recognition led the county to establish separate schools at all levels for tribal members. 

Throughout the early 1900s, the tribe struggled to be recognized at the federal level and went through several name changes. In 1956, the state officially changed the tribe’s name to Lumbee, recognized three years later by the U.S. Congress. The name comes from the Lumber River, which winds through their traditional homeland. 

Learn more at lumbeetribe.com.

Share this story

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.