Lumberton, NC- It's an event that attracts more than 400 dancers and 10,000 spectators from across the country, the Dance of the Spring Moon”, Lumbee Spring Pow Wow is said to be one of the largest native gatherings on the East Coast .
“We've had pow wows ever since the 1700's, and are happily still holding them today, they are a great way to fellowship with other members and show the world what our people and culture are all about,” said Paul Brooks, Chairman of the Lumbee Tribe in Lumberton, North Carolina.
The Lumbee Tribe is said to be one of the largest tribes in North Carolina, with an estimated 55,000 members residing in surrounding counties in North Carolina. The Spring Pow Wow event followed a bill that was recently reintroduced to congress, where the Lumbee tribe are seeking full federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, whose members make up almost 40 percent of Robeson County's population. The legislation was introduced Friday by U.S. Reps. Richard Hudson and Mike McIntyre.
“I mean we've dealt with the federal government since 1888, it's just the fact that were entitled to the recognition, it wouldn't just be a great thing for us, but ultimately everyone in the community, too .”Said Cynthia Hunt, Tribal Clerk for the Lumbee Tribe “We were recognized in 1956 as the Lumbee Indians, but we did not receive benefits that other recognized tribes received.”
The bill still has a long ways to go before a final decision is made; the Lumbee recognition could mean hundreds of millions of dollars a year that would flow into Robeson County to enhance economic development, health care and educational opportunities for the tribe.
Although the Lumbee tribe is trying hard to gain recognition, nothing is stopping them from coming together and celebrating their culture at the Spring Pow Wow event this weekend.
“Its a special time for all of the Lumbee People, the event gets larger and larger each year,” said tribe Chairman, Paul Brooks.
The Spring Pow Wow is happening all weekend long at The Southeastern Agricultural Events center, located at 1027 US Highway 74 East in Lumberton. Admission is $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for youth (ages 6-12) and children under 5 are free. Admission for military personnel is $5.00 with valid id.