A letter from the desk of
James Hardin, Executive Director of LRDA
Lumbee Homecoming: Turning the Corner Towards 50 Years!
Lumbee Homecoming is 45 years old and growing! This celebrative
history of our Southeastern Woodlands native history, culture, and survival,
and amazing achievements since the founding of this state and nation to modern
times is beyond comparison throughout all of America’s “Indian Country”.
It is still the marquee event
that is helping our tribe maintain, even in our high tech modern world, its
ancient tribal “village” sense of community, family, culture and pride.
This group pride has driven us as a people, since the founding of LRDA
in 1968, in a more organized way, as we had never been before, to say no to
discrimination, inequality, brutality, and even double voting. These
roadblocks sought to keep us either in poverty, or ignorance and
non-involvement even in the economics of our county, or even the political
arenas, around the tables of power. Most
of the programs, services, benefits, and some voting rights that
tribal members still participate in
today came to the Lumbee due to political battles fought in the decades of the
late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s at all levels of government.
Even though poverty has not been conquered among a far too large
percentage of tribal communities,
Lumbee Homecoming showcases the fact that as a people we have since 1968
opened the window, and now have access
through the front door, to the
opportunities for wealth growth for our families, for the most part, that the
greater non-Indian society has.
Whether it is 45 years, or soon to be 50, Lumbee Homecoming will
always be about shaping through our own Lumbee hands and minds, our own
positive tribal self-concept as a people, in spite of naysayers, and to
perpetuate our heritage and identity for our children’s sake. Nations do this
around the world, and it is called “nationalism”. We claim our right, and will
fight to protect that right. This is at the core of Lumbee federal recognition
struggles in Washington DC.
Lumbee Homecoming will always showcase our many, educational, social,
and cultural contributions to our county, state and nation. Our achievements
would not have been possible without leaders of a strong faith in God,
throughout our history, and our strong work ethic, anchored in an
individualistic, non-co-dependent pride.
We hope that you will enjoy all the events planned for this 45th
Lumbee Homecoming. On behalf of
the Lumbee Regional Development Association board of directors and staff, we
welcome the public and all tribal members to share in our culture during
Lumbee Homecoming 2013!
James Hardin, Executive Director
Lumbee Regional Development Assoc. Inc.