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Established in 1968, Lumbee Regional Development Association, Inc. was created to provide services for the Lumbee Indian communities. With main offices in Pembroke, North Carolina, LRDA has worked aggressively to improve services for members of the Lumbee Tribe.

LRDA is committed to providing a range of valuable services that assist disadvantaged Indian people. The organization works in conjunction with a number of governmental organizations to provide services and improve social and economic conditions in Lumbee communities.

LRDA is widely recognized by the Lumbee people, the federal government, the State of North Carolina, other states, foundations, funding entities, and other Indian Tribes and urban Indian organizations as an organization that serves Lumbee people.

LRDA's mission is to continuously assess the needs of Indian people and others in our service area, work to improve the quality of life, develop and/or obtain resources to fill the gap in the ongoing provision of social, health, economic, housing, education, job development and training services to meet the needs of our client population.

A Cheraw community was first observed on Drowning Creek (Lumber River) in present day Robeson County in 1724.  Almost 300 years later, we continue to live along the Lumber River.  We have been recognized by the state of North Carolina as a tribe since 1885.  With this recognition, the state provided educational assistance and other services.

In 1887, the state established an All American Indian training school for the Lumbee.  This institution grew into a college, which today has an enrollment of approximately 3,000 and is known as the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  It is one of the sixteen institutions that make up the University of North Carolina system.

Although recognized by the State of North Carolina and recognized as American Indians by the federal Government, the Lumbee are excluded from most services provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Because of the status as a state recognized tribe, the Lumbee receive some federal services and assistance from the Department of Labor, Office of Indian Education, and the Administration for Native Americans.

The Lumbee hold no treaty with the federal government.  However, the Congress of the United State's in 1956 passed the Lumbee Act which officially recognized the Native American Indians of Robeson and adjoining counties as the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina.  This bill contained language that made Lumbee ineligible for financial support and program services administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  This bill was passed at a time of major federal government cutbacks in assistance and services to Indians.  


Chronological And Legislative History of the Lumbee

Pre 1700 to 1703 - Cheraws are documented as living on or near the Dan River in two settlements near the state border of southwest Virginia.

1703-1737 - Cheraws are documented as living on the Pee Dee River, SC.

1711-1712 - Cheraws participated in alliance of tribes engaged in intertribal warfare against Tuscarora in war in northeastern NC.   Tuscaroras were defeated mostly by Indian allies of European colonists.  Thousands of Tuscaroras were killed or enslaved.

1715 - Cheraws participated in Cofitachiqui Indian alliance in Yamasee War, which was targeted against traders and colonist around Charleston, SC.  Cofitachiquo alliance was defeated by alliance of European colonists and their Indian allies.

1725 - Herbert Map was completed that shows the Wacoma (Waccamaw) tribe on Drowning Creek (Lumbee River), NC.

1753 - NC Governor Rowan issued a Proclamation identifying Drowning Creek as a frontier to Indians.

1771 - Information on Cheraws on Drowning Creek was reported in Charleston, SC Newspaper.

1790 - Locklears, Chavises, Oxendines, Hammonds, Brooks, Cumbos, Revels, Carters, and Kerseys (people with predominant Lumbee surnames) are listed on the 1790 Census of Robeson County as "All other free persons".

1835 - NC State Constitution was amended to disenfranchise Indians along with Blacks; Indians lose important citizenship rights.

1864-1874 - Henry Berry Lowrie, legendary Lumbee outlaw/folk hero, led guerilla war against violent and oppressive Confederate officials, and later, US Military officials.

1868 - Following the Civil War,  the NC State Constitution was amended to enfranchise Indians along with Blacks (Indians get back important citizenship rights).

1885 - NC General Assembly recognized the Indians of Robeson County as Croatan and established a separate school system for Indians.

1887 - Indian leaders and NC General Assembly established a Croatan Indian Normal School, which eventually grew to becomes the  University of NC at Pembroke.

1888 - Leaders of the Croatan (Lumbee) petitioned the US government for federal recognition and educational aid.

1890 - NC Supreme Court ruled that Croatan School Committees have authority to determine who tribal members are for purposes of enrolling in Croatan Schools.

1895 - Croatans (Lumbees) again petitioned Congress for an appropriation of the Normal School for the Croatan Indians of Robeson County.

1895 - NC General Assembly passed a resolution urging its US Congressional delegation to support the Croatan (Lumbee) Indians.

1899 - Congressman John D. Bellamy introduced a bill in US Congress to provide educational assistance to the Croatan (Lumbee) Indians.

1900 - Congressman Bellamy spoke before the US House Committee on Indian Affairs and reported on origins, history, and needs of the Croatan (Lumbee).

1900 - US Government completed special Census of Indian population of Robeson County and adjoining counties as part of Census Survey.

1909 - NC General Assembly appropriated $3,000 to the Croatan Indian of Robeson County for educational aid.

1910 - US Government completed special Census of Indian population of Robeson and adjoining counties as part of Census survey.

1911 - NC General Assembly changed name of tribe to "Indians of Robeson County" (Lumbee).

1913 - US Congress held a hearing on status and concerns of "Indians of Robeson County" (Lumbee)

1914 - Delegation of Lumbee returned to Congress seeking support for their educational system.

1919 - O.M. McPherson, Special Indian agent with the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, visits Robeson County to study Lumbee.

1921 - NC General Assembly appropriated $75,000 to the Indian Normal School.

1933 - Bill introduced in Congress to recognize Indians of Robeson County as "Cheraw".

1934 - Lumbee leaders joined the National Congress of American Indians

1935 - Bureau of Indian Affairs sent Special Indian agent to Robeson County to study conditions of the tribe and recommend purchase of land for the tribe.

1935 - 1936 - Researchers with the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the US Department of the Interior came to Robeson County to conduct studies among the Lumbee.

1952 - Lumbee leaders held community referendum to get approval of tribal members to change name of tribe to "Lumbee Tribe"

1953 - NC General Assembly changed name of Indians of Robeson County to "Lumbee".

1956 - US Congress passed the Lumbee Act which provides federal recognition of the tribe as "Lumbee", but denied federal Indian services to members of the Lumbee tribe.

1958 - After the Klan threatened Lumbee tribal members, Lumbee Indians used force of arms to route Ku Klux Klan in confrontation near Maxton, NC.   The Lumbee tribe received national and international news media attention for its defense of its community against outside "hate groups".

1968 - Lumbee Regional Development Association (LRDA) organized to improve quality of life for Indian people in Robeson, Hoke, and Scotland counties.

1971 - Present - LRDA received federal funds to provide services to low-income Indian people of Robeson and adjoining counties.

1971 - Present - Leaders of LRDA joined and represented the Lumbee tribe in the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest, largest, and most respected Indian organization in the United States.

1972 - 1976 - Lumbee groups worked to preserve predominantly Indian schools and preserve and restore "Old Main" an historic landmark building which is very important to Lumbee history  and culture, located on the UNCP campus.

1974 - Bill introduced in US Congress to amend Lumbee Act of 1956 to provide full federal recognition to Lumbee Tribe.

1979 - LRDA began efforts to develop petition through Federal Acknowledgement Process of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, for administrative recognition of the Lumbee tribe.

1980 - 2001 - LRDA prepared, updated, and maintains a list of all enrolled members of the Lumbee tribe.  (There are over 43,000 members to date.)

1984 - Referendum approved by vote of the Lumbee Tribal members authorized the Board of Directors of LRDA to act for the Lumbee Tribe on federal recognition until a Lumbee Tribal Council is formed and elected by Lumbee Tribal Enrolled members.

1987 - LRDA and Lumbee River Legal Services submitted petition for federal recognition of  Lumbee tribe to Bureau of Indian Affairs.   This document was a product of the most extensive research into the history and genealogy of the Lumbee and their ancestors to date.

1988 - Bill introduced in US Senate and House of Representatives for recognition of the Lumbee.

1988 - The Lumbee Recognition Act advanced in Senate, but died in House of Representatives.

1989 - Leaders of LRDA obtained resolution from National Congress of American Indians supporting efforts for federal recognition.

1989 - The Solicitor for the Department of the Interior ruled that the 1956 Lumbee Act denied the federal relationship to Lumbee, the Lumbee are not eligible for the Federal Acknowledgement Process of the BIA.

1991 - Bill introduced in US Congress for recognition of the Lumbee Tribe.  Bill passed in House of Representatives, but died in Senate.

1993 - Lumbee Recognition Bill passed in the US House of Representatives.

1993 - LRDA organized Lumbee Tribal Constitution Development Project to help prepare a draft of a Lumbee tribal constitution and explore options for tribal government.

1994 - Lumbee Recognition Bill received strong bipartisan support in the US Senate, endorsed by Senator Daniel Inouye (D) and Senator Lauch Faircloth (R).

1994 - Glen Maynor was elected Sheriff of Robeson County, the first Lumbee in this very important position.  Joanne Locklear was elected Clerk of Court of Robeson County, the first Lumbee to hold this very important position.

1998 - April Whittemore crowned first ever Lumbee Miss Indian World

2000 - Lorna McNeil crowned Miss North Carolina, first American Indian woman to hold this position.

2001 - Lumbee elect first Lumbee Tribal Council.  For more information about the Tribal Council, please visit their web page at www.lumbeetribe.com 



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