Kamala Harris told Spectrum News in an exclusive video that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will support federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe, the largest Native American tribe in North Carolina.
“For 132 years, your tribe has fought for the recognition you have long deserved and I am humbled by your fight, your tenacity and your long struggle,” Harris said in a video released Wednesday.
“Joe Biden and I support Congressman Butterfield’s bill to recognize the Lumbee Tribe,” she said.
Biden joins President Trump in supporting the Lumbee Tribe – the president campaigned in Lumberton last weekend and promised to support federal recognition for the Lumbees.
Harris said Biden's support for recognizing the tribe goes back to 1992, when he supported a similar bill. Biden and President Barack Obama also supported a bill to recognize the Lumbee in 2009, she said.
By Wednesday, Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said she and Joe Biden also support recognition for the Lumbee.
During his Robeson County rally on Saturday, Trump said that if he gets reelected he will sign the Lumbee Recognition Act by the end of the year.
The bill, introduced last year by North Carolina Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield, passed out of a U.S. House committee at the end of September.
According to the act: “This bill extends federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and makes its members eligible for the services and benefits provided to members of federally recognized tribes.”
“Members of the tribe residing in Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland counties in North Carolina are deemed to be within the delivery area for such services,” the bill summary states.
“For more than a century, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina has sought federal recognition, but has been met with indifference and red tape,” Trump said last week.
Support from tribal members could help swing the vote in North Carolina where Biden and Trump are essentially neck and neck.
There are 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States, according to the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“Federally recognized tribes are recognized as possessing certain inherent rights of self-government (i.e., tribal sovereignty) and are entitled to receive certain federal benefits, services, and protections because of their special relationship with the United States,” according to the bureau.