Over spring break, I interviewed two ladies who contained a wealth of knowledge about Lumbee History.
First, I interviewed Ms. Ruth Locklear who is employed by The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. I also interviewed Ms. Cynthia Hunt Locklear who is employed Lumbee Legal Services. Over the course of their interviews, they addressed the following questions.
1. Thinking back on your childhood, can you remember a certain
Instance when you first realized that you were Indian? If so, what did this
mean to you?
2. Can you recall any stories that your parents or grandparents
told about growing up as Indians?
3. What was it like growing up in a Lumbee household? For
example, what kind of values did your parents instill? Do you feel that this
experience differs from other households and communities?
4. There are several theories about where the Lumbee people
originated and how they coalesced in Robeson County. Which theory do you feel is most compelling and why?
5. Have you ever seen or heard about any healing practices specific to the
6. What about ghost stories?
7. Why is the story about Henry Berry Lowry so significant to
The Lumbee people?
8. We learned that the civil rights movement was a tumultuous
time for Lumbees in Robeson County. What was this experience like for you?
9. Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt
conflicted with your identity as a Lumbee Indian? If so, please explain how you approached.
10. Is there anything else that you would like to share with
young scholars who are interested in Lumbee History?
I went into these interviews expecting to find information to include in my migration exhibit, and share with the class. Instead, I found something much more rewarding. Once I had completed the interviews, I left with a renewed sense of identity. Some of the ladies’ responses were exactly alike, and some were completely different. But either way, these anecdotes were 100% Lumbee.
For example, both of these ladies told me that the Lumbee are descendants of the Cheraw. The Lost Colony theory arose through Hamilton McMillian’s mistake. When he asked the Indians in Robeson County where they came from, they answered Roanoke. When they said this, they were referring to Roanoke River, but McMillan assumed they meant Roanoke Island. Thus arose the Croatan name.
One area they disagreed on was the topic of Henry Berry Lowry. Ms. Ruth described him as a hero because he stood up. Ms. Cynthia gave a completely different story. She acknowledged that not everyone saw him as a glorified hero. Some thought that he was the meanest man in Robeson County, because if he wanted something, he would take it. He would steal from White and Native people alike.
I’ve recorded these interviews on my laptop, and would like to upload them, but the files are too large. If you have any suggestions on how to do this, please let me know. Check back soon to see if they are here because I would love for everyone to hear these!