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I visited the North Carolina History museum in Raleigh in order to look at the Native American exhibit.  The exhibit was rather small, but I found it interesting nevertheless.  There was no mention whatsoever of the Lumbee, but a number of other North Carolina tribes were mentioned (Saponi, Tuscarora, Cherokee, etc) and I found some of the items fascinating.  I particularly enjoyed the portion of the exhibit that covered Indian sports like stickball, which is essentially a primitive (meaning less rules) totally full-contact form of lacrosse.  I’ve also always found something romantic about dugout canoes, of which they had a few on display, one of which was excavated from a North Carolina lake and was thousands of years old.

The closest “Lumbee connection” in the exhibit was on a few maps of North Carolina tribes at various points in history, which the Tuscarora were featured on.  I found the exhibit interesting and relevant despite its lack of Lumbee information (or rather, its total failure to acknowledge the tribe’s existence) and I think learning about traditional/historic Native American practices of NC tribes is nevertheless very relevant since prior to European contact we can presume that many ancestors of modern-day Lumbee came from these very tribes.  That’s one of the things that makes the Lumbee so interesting – their heritage is a mixed bag, with the only real consensus being that of Native American rather than any specific pre-contact tribe.  Perhaps that’s why the Lumbee focus on place and location is so important to their individual identities – they are bound less by tribal affiliation (most of which has been lost in history anyhow) than by their shared locale, physical location, which has united them for several centuries.

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