Speaks at recognition hearing
But Sampson is also a Lumbee Indian from Pembroke, N.C., and, as such, told a U.S. House of Representatives committee on Wednesday that in the eyes of the government he is a “second-class Indian.”
“I used that to motivate me, not deter me,” Sampson said. “The Lumbee people have suffered the same economic disadvantages as other Indian tribes such as discrimination by the dominant society, poor social services and resources and limited opportunities.
"I don't need your permission to call myself Native American, but because of the current conditions, I need you (Congress) to validate it. We're Native American, but there is a 'but' there," Sampson told the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday.
Sampson said Congress put his North Carolina tribe in that position in 1956 when it made it a federally recognized tribe but denied members access to federal Indian programs and barred them from seeking full federal recognition from the Interior Department.
The Lumbees want Congress to grant full recognition.