The Lumbee Tribe- In the mystery novel Written In Stone, by Ellery Adams, a strange witch lady, who lived alone in a hermit-like hut in a swamp, dies. This in itself is not so surprising, but she died of a snake bite despite having lots of antivenom on hand at all times. The last person to visit her before her death is Olivia, a middle-aged woman who happens to be dating the local police chief. She was given a mysterious jar that seems to hold the key to not just the mystery of the witch’s death, but clues to who is responsible when a young man who works for Olivia dies at a Lumbee tribal festival.
At first when I was reading this book I figured that this author made up a tribe for her story. But, after further research I know better. There really is a Lumbee tribe in North Carolina, and they really are part Black, part White and part ‘Indian’, a tribe that coalesced out of the various groups of marginalized people in North Carolina in the 1700’s. It is possible that there was a foundational Lumbee tribe that was not Black or White and that took in escaped slaves and mixed-race couples, but at this point the exact origins of the Lumbee are contentious and based on incomplete data. There is money involved in this origins question, of course, since the US federal government has not yet granted recognition to the Lumbee probablt as a result of their complex origins.
The state of North Carolina has granted the Lumbee tribal status since the 1800’s though. And, just as in Adams’ book, the Lumbee really did rout a planned KKK attack, where the Klansmen were at their staging ground getting ready to attack the Lumbee, and the Lumbee realized they outnumbered and could outpower the Klansmen. They did so and ran the KKK effectively out of their area, more or less permanently. Just as in the book, this event was known as the Battle of Hayes Pond. You can read more about the Lumbee Tribe at their website (http://www.lumbeetribe.com ).