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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carnell Locklear, February 24, 2004. Interview U-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Violent disagreement during Lumbee rights meeting

Locklear describes some of the details of his efforts to attain federal recognition and benefits for the Lumbees. He and others took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to protest the Lumbee Act, which had recognized twenty-two Lumbees as at least half Indian by blood but denied them benefits. He recalls one meeting where the accusations of another Lumbee sparked violence.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Carnell Locklear, February 24, 2004. Interview U-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MALINDA MAYNOR:
Was that the BIA?
CARNELL LOCKLEAR:
The BIA, we took over the BIA. We had 1500 of us. So we met with-I met with me and Dennis and Russell and Vernon Bellecourt and Clyde. It was five of us met with Nixon's lawyer. [unclear] what was his name? But anyway, he told me personally, call me over. Says, Carnell, if you'll get your people out of here, go back home, we're going to give each organization so much money. Pay for your gas and pay for you some food, if you'll get them out of here and go back home. He says, write me a proposal and send it direct to me. He said, we'll see that something is done. Well, in the main process, before we went there, Thomas N. Tureen agreed to file a lawsuit against the Secretary of Interior, Rogers C. B. Morton, about the 22. And the federal judge at that time, I forgot his name, he said, the 22 must honor the Lumbee Act. The Lumbee Act at that time stated they recognized these people as Indians, but won't have no benefits [unclear] because of their status as Indians. So I told Thomas, I said, "Let's appeal that, Tom." So he went to the Fourth Circuit Appeals in Richmond. The Fourth Circuit Appeals listened to both sides, Thomas N. Tureen argued for it and then you had the Secretary of the Interior's office argued against it. So the Fourth Circuit Appeals agreed with us, that those 22 individuals was not under the Lumbee Act. That these Indians was more than one half degree of Indian blood. And the border line people was one half or more degree of Indian blood. And if they had any brothers or sisters, they were automatically covered. So what we done, was Thomas N. Tureen and Barry Nakell, we agreed at that time-we had already come back. We had done that before, when we filed a lawsuit and lost it before we went to Washington. And then while we was in Washington, Thomas N. Tureen appealed it, and they heard it, and they put 1974. When we come back from Washington, I had a meeting that Wednesday night, and I told the people, I said, "Listen, this is what we've got to do." I said, "We've got to write down what we want." So I had brought a person in to help us write a grant, a proposal for what we wanted to accomplish. And there was a guy sitting in there who was a grandson of one of the original 22. He stands up in the meeting and says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I've got some bad news for you." I mean, right out of the deep blue sky. "I've got some bad news." He paused, he said, "Carnell Locklear sold us out." He said, "He got a hundred thousand dollars. He's got a brand new Cadillac, he's got a woman, he's married, out of South Carolina. He's got a home at the beach, he's got a woman in Washington DC." And when he said that, the people said [makes whistling noise]. Just sat there. They broke up, they left there that night. I went home, and about 2:00 that morning, my house got shot at. I heard them coming to shoot. And I took my kids, and got them and put them under the bed. Then my wife and me got up under the bed. And they shot at my house that night. And to that night right on, they split up in five different ways.
MALINDA MAYNOR:
Why did he say that?
CARNELL LOCKLEAR:
His name was Howard Brooks, he lived over here on the river.
WILLIE LOWERY:
Howard Brooks, that-
CARNELL LOCKLEAR:
Chief Howard Brooks.
MALINDA MAYNOR:
Not the doctor-
WILLIE LOWERY:
No, no I'm saying-
MALINDA MAYNOR:
Yeah, the Howard Brooks that was [unclear] .
CARNELL LOCKLEAR:
Yeah, he got locked up with Golden Frinks. So Howard took them on a streak. What happened when they shot at my house, my mama told me don't go back there. I said, "Mom, I'm going back there. To one more meeting." When I went back to that meeting that night, they had pitchforks, they had knives, they had guns, they had axes and everything. My mother went with me, and my Aunt Maggie. Aunt Maggie had a .22 pistol, and she pulled it out that night, said, "If you all lay your hands on him, I'll blow your brains out." So we had to back out of the meeting that night.