To the Editor.
For 10 years, I have been on a mission of “No Lum Left Behind,” immersing myself in the Lumbee Tribal.
Over the years I have put forth new interpretations of the constitution. Tribal Council and administration have ended up accepting my positions. It’s time for another right of the Lumbee people to be recognized.
Articles IV and V of the constitution provide for recall and tribal initiatives of the Lumbee people. Previous interpretations of the constitution maintained that of the 5,000 of 30,000 eligible Lumbee voters who voted in an November 2015 election, only the 5,000 tribal members voting could recall an elected official.
So 25,000 Lumbee are told they have no voice in removing elected officials? Do we really believe that the churches that formed our Lumbee Tribal Government would exclude 80 percent of the Lumbee people from decision-making?
Lumbee communities have rumored for 16 years that tribal voters are bought and paid for. So is the welfare of 60,000 tribal members, 30,000 of whom are voter eligible, limited to those 5.000 voters who are allegedly paid a pack of cigarettes and $5 on a cold day in November?
I and the elders who approached me with a new insight into the constitution, agree that 10 percent of the actual number of Lumbee voting (5,000) in an election are required to begin recall efforts.
The elders and I now propose that the pool of voters who can initiate the recall is not the 5,000 who voted but the 30,000 who are eligible to vote. From the November 2015 election totals, 10 percent of 5,000 voters requires that 500 signatures of eligible Lumbee voters must begin any recall effort.
The 500 signatures are not limited to the 5,000 who voted but can come from any Lumbee enrolled tribal member who in November 2015 was 18 years of age and eligible to vote. Our Lumbee founders had the wisdom to know that it would take all eligible Lumbee voters to steer our tribal government away from the rocks and storms we have endured for 16 years.
Opening the pool of signatures to all eligible voters also eliminates the need for a roster of names of individuals who voted previously. All we need is a number. No names and by God no enrollment numbers.
Eric R. Locklear