By Barry Farber
In boxing, John Stossel's interview with Elizabeth Homer, who used to be the government nanny of the recognized tribes, would have been canceled as a mismatch or halted on a TKO early in Round 1. She was pitifully unable to defend government stewardship over Native Americans as anything but the failure of socialism.
1) One example of anything is statistically meaningless. Compared to 565 federally recognized tribes, the Lumbee case is irrelevant. It's an anecdote, not a fact.
2) I'm guessing Stossel didn't do more than talk to one or two Lumbees and drive through one or two Lumbee neighborhoods. There's zero evidence that he examined the lives of 55,000 Lumbees in any meaningful way.
3) Stossel provide no context for his claims. The important context is this: Many unrecognized tribes in rural locations are as poor as recognized tribes. And many recognized tribes in urban locations (the Mashantucket Pequots, Mohegans, Seminoles, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, San Manuel, Morongo, Agua Caliente, Pechanga, Viejas, Chumash, et al.) are as rich as their non-Indian neighbors.
What's the key information in this paragraph? Tribes in rural locations are poor because no jobs are nearby. Tribes in urban locations are (relatively) rich because jobs are nearby. The Lumbees are well-off because they live in North Carolina's booming Triangle region (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill), not because self-reliance has made them strong.
For more on the subject, see Trahant Agrees About Termination Agenda, Fox Special on Indian "Freeloaders," and Stossel: Indians Are Biggest Moochers.