Governor Cooper shared his strong support for full federal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina today during a speech at the Lumbee Nation Economic Summit.

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan, Governor Cooper wrote that full federal recognition will help much of the southeastern region of North Carolina and “allow the Lumbee Tribe to access health care, education, housing, and child care benefits.”

“It’s time to correct a serious injustice that has wronged the Lumbee for far too long,” Gov. Cooper said. “Congress should extend full federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe, and I’ve officially asked them to do so.”

At the Summit, Cooper discussed the ongoing recover efforts after historic flooding from Hurricane Matthew last fall. Robeson County was one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew, and full federal recognition would help connect the Lumbee Tribe to federal resources like disaster relief through Indian Affairs.

“Full federal recognition would make it easier for the Tribe to get assistance from FEMA and the American Red Cross when disaster strikes,” Gov. Cooper said. “It’s a shame that these benefits aren’t available to you already, but I’m going to continue encouraging Congress to extend them to you.”

Cooper and the North Carolina Congressional delegation were disappointed by the response to their request for additional federal hurricane recovery money, but have pledged to work together to secure additional funds. Cooper recently met with the bipartisan North Carolina Congressional delegation to discuss next steps to push for more funding.

Click here to read the letter.


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