LUMBERTON, NC-- North Carolina's U.S. senators have filed a bill to provide federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, an effort that began 125 years ago.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan filed the bill Wednesday to provide full federal recognition to the tribe.
North Carolina formally recognized the Lumbees in 1885, and the tribe began its quest for federal recognition three years later.
Congress passed legislation recognizing the tribe in 1956 but without the benefits that every other federally recognized tribe receives.
The 1956 Lumbee Act prohibits the tribe from going through the Bureau of Indian Affairs process for full recognition so the tribe must turn to Congress.
Full recognition would make the Lumbees eligible for all federal benefits and programs.