One extremely important Lumbee tradition is attending church on Sunday and even in Baltimore that still holds true. The South Broadway Baptist Church is attended predominantly by Lumbee families and it brings the southern spirit that exists in Robeson County churches all the way to Maryland.
The BAIC is a non-profit organization that has been active since 1968. The BAIC is used as a “home base” for American Indians in the area, especially the Lumbee people. Our crew was able to interview four of the members involved with this organization and all of them had one general statement: “Robeson County will always be home.”
Relocating to larger cities to seek gainful employment is a common practice among the Lumbee people and Baltimore, Maryland appears to be a popular choice. In the Northeast Market, the crew found James Bowen working hard in his bakery.
For over 30 years, Bowen’s Bakery has successfully served members of the Lumbee Tribe who reside in Baltimore. James Bowen and his daughter Rosie offer Southern hospitality, a trait Bowen contributes to learning in Robeson County, to their customers that keep them coming back for that sweet taste of home.
Kevin Gover, Director of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., stated that the Lumbee people have maintained strong ties with the museum over the years and have been a part of numerous exhibits. He feels that recognition is important for the Lumbee Tribe and has high hopes for future progression.
The crew traveled to Washington D.C. to interview two prominent Lumbee lawyers: Jody A. Cummings and Arlinda Locklear.
Arlinda Locklear graduated from Duke Law in 1976. She has spent most of her career fighting for the rights of American Indian tribes, including full federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe. Locklear was the first American Indian woman to argue before the Supreme Court in 1984. She discussed some of the challenges the tribe has struggled with in pursuing full recognition such as the size of the tribe and the lack of written history. Although she is no longer representing the Lumbee Tribe, she still has hope that the tribe will reach it’s goal.
Jody A. Cummings works for Steptoe & Johnson LLP as special counsel. He has worked closely with Arlinda seeking recognition for the Lumbee tribe. Cummings also represents other cases dealing with federal Indian law.