There reason there is some speculation about the Lumbee people is because research demonstrated that there were numerous mixed-race African American surnames in Lumbee ancestry. The Lumbee were mostly descendants of white women and African men, who worked and lived together in colonial Virginia. These connections have been traced for numerous individuals and families through court records, land deeds and other existing historical documents. It is believed that when they began to settle in Robeson County, they may have intermarried with Native American survivors and acculturated as Indian.
This one’s kind of a tough call as to whether or not the Lumbee people are actually Indigenous Americans or not. I think it’s more of a matter of personal opinion on this one because some people believe they are, and some people don’t because there’s more African American and mixed genealogy there than there is Native American.
In the 1950’s the U.S. Congress passed the Lumbee Act, which recognized the Lumbee as Native American people; but specifically withheld recognition for them as a “tribe.”
But in 2009, US Representative Mike McIntyre intended to grant the Lumbee Indians federal recognition. On June 3, 2009, the US House of Representatives voted 240 to 179 for federal recognition for the Lumbee tribe, acknowledging that they are the descendants of the Cheraw tribe. But the bill still needs approval by the full Senate before becoming law.