by Myth Buster
Three persons, claiming to be members of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, were interviewed by two OAN (One America Network) reporters during the attack on the United States Capitol. The three self-styled Lumbees claimed that they had trashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, because she had blocked federal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe. They also stated that Robeson County, NC had switched from being a strongly Democratic county to overwhelmingly Republican bastion this fall because the Democrats had long opposed their federal recognition. On January 16, 2021 the video began making its round on many mainstream network and far-right news websites as if it was the truth.
Something didn’t quite sound right about this newscast, so The Americas Revealed Myth-Buster went to work . . . since the weather was miserable today anyway. My main sources of fact-checking were public statements made by the Chairman of the Lumbee Tribe, Harvey Godwin, Jr.; press releases by the Lumbee Tribal Public Relations Office and the Congressional Record.
1. The two reporters did not work for OAN. They are amateurs, who maintain a little-watched Youtube channel. They carry with them fake news reporter credentials for FOX, CNN, OAN, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. which enables them to penetrate crowds and be allowed to enter crime scenes by law enforcement. Yes, this is illegal.
2. Beginning in 1974, there have been 45 bills before Congress that sought to give full federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe. Nine of these bills were passed by the House of Representatives. None were passed by the Senate.
3. In 2019 Barrack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden publicly endorsed the Lumbee Recognition Act of 2019. The bill passed in the House of Representatives on November 16, 2020 with considerable bipartisan support. Nancy Pelosi and the House Budget Committee then attached the passed bill to their version of the Non-Partisan Omnibus Spending Bill of 2020. Obviously, Nancy Pelosi did not block the legislation.
4. Only three persons presented public testimony before Congress in 2019 and 2020, which opposed federal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe. They were the principal chiefs of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.
4. On November 20, 2020 President Donald Trump gave a speech in Robeson County, NC attended by many Lumbee tribal members. In the speech, Trump stated that “Nancy Pelosi and the Liberal Democrats have blocked federal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe for many years.” In fact, their federal recognition had been approved by the House four days earlier.
6. Trump also promised the Lumbees that the bill would be passed in the Senate before Christmas. There is no published account of Trump ever publicly supporting Lumbee recognition until this speech. In fact, he and his White House staff intentionally shunned the deliberation of the 2020 Omnibus Spending Bill to which the Lumbee Bill was originally attached. There is absolutely no evidence that either Trump or his staff ever discussed the Lumbee Recognition Bill with members of Congress. Nevertheless, four days after his speech in Robeson County, NC a high percentage of local voters did vote for Donald Trump.
7. Upon recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican) and the Senate Budget Committee, the Lumbee Recognition bill was detached from the main spending bill and put up for separate vote. The measure was approved by most Democratic senators, but did not have sufficient Republican support to be re-attached to the Omnibus Spending Bill. Therefore, it was scheduled for a separate consideration in the 2021 congressional season. Trump planned to not sign the Senate-passed version of the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2020, but was pressured to do so during his Christmas vacation in Miami.