Lumbee recognition

Senator Elizabeth Dole's bid to gain full federal recognition for the Lumbee Indians could lead to another casino in North Carolina. That's the forecast from a public policy group.

Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, says passage of Dole's bill would almost certainly grant the Lumbees status to have a casino.

Dole spokeswoman Mary Brown Brewer says the bill doesn't create gambling. She says the governor must approve any gaming activity on American reservations.

Dole introduced her bill last week at a rally in Lumberton. At the time, she noted that the state has recognized the Lumbee Indians as a tribe since 1885 and that Congress acknowledged them in 1956, but withheld tribal privileges such as federal funding.

State Representative Ronnie Sutton, a Lumbee and the only American Indian in the Legislature, says it's too early to talk about gambling. But he says it's a venture the tribe would support.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)