The face of Lumbee poverty still the face of a child

To the Editor,

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and its destruction I have cause to think about the history and present living conditions of our communities.

Robeson County experienced destruction and devestation a year ago from Hurricane Matthew. Long before Matthew there were and continue to be populations in Robeson County for whom survival each day is an accomplishment.

My grandmother Leah Locklear taught elementary school among the Lumbee 50 years ago. In those days she had at-risk children at Pembroke Elementary. The communities knew about these households and pitched in to help as they were able.

My grandmother gathered clothing in the community because some of those children came to school wearing the same clothes they slept in. Younger children had soiled their clothes and grandma and my mother Mrs. Peggy would change the childrens clothes and wash the children in the school bathrooms. I am told that my arthritic Grandma took the children’s clothes home and washed them.

Lumbee households continue to suffer the same distresses and many more. Today, however, there is the Lumbee Tribal Administration responsible for $14 million in federal tax dollars directed to assist needy Lumbee tribal members. Lumbee Tribal Administration is taking housing and unrestricted funds to DC to have Lumbee Days.

How are we talking about Lumbee Days in DC while ignoring the conditions of daily survival of many Lumbee? The face of poverty among the Lumbee looks the same after 50 years. It’s the face of a child.

Yes, pray for Texas, but we have our own Harvey to deal with in the Lumbee and we must do a lot more than pray.

Eric R. Locklear