Political Readjustment of Lumbee Indian Veterans in Robeson County, North Carolina, 1941-1998

This investigation focused on selected members of the Lumbee Indian tribe with the goal of examining Lumbee Indian veterans' perceptions of first leaving home; Lumbee Indian veterans' perceptions of their observations of the world outside Robeson County, North Carolina; Lumbee Indian veterans' treatment upon returning home; and the influence of Lumbee Indian veterans' in local elections of Robeson County, North Carolina — 1941-1998.

A search for related literature among Lumbee Indian-specific and political veteran readjustment literature was conducted. This was followed by a literature review detailing concepts of post war Native American veteran "Readjustment Via Political Participation."

From the literature, a hypothetical framework was chosen which empha­sized veteran involvement in the political process. Sociologist Wilbur J. Scott, has hypothesized that veteran readjustment* takes place on numerous levels, one of which is political (Scott 1993). "In short, involvement in political issues...may be part and parcel of the readjustment process" (Holm 1996:180).

The procedures followed in conducting the investigation of the problem were then proposed. In addition, certain pertinent background information about the people and places involved was outlined.

After finding an infinitesimal amount of literature on the topic, an interview schedule was designed around the hypothetical framework, which consisted of 17 primary questions. A series of interviews were conducted with a total of 15 Lum­bee Indian veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Selected data related to Lumbee Indian veterans and their relationship to the election process, as perceived by selected Lumbee Indian veterans were presented. This was accomplished using Scott's hypothesis of political readjustment. The data were procured via interviews conducted with selected Lumbee Indian veter­ans. A series of interviews were conducted with a total of 15 Lumbee Indian vet­erans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

A case study of a Korean War Lumbee Indian veteran was presented. Each Lumbee Indian veteran shared their recollections of a life in a tri-racial,• racially segregated county and how they manipulated the political system to ease the problem of racial discrimination.

Based on the findings of this study, the involvement of Lumbee Indian vet­erans in the organization of political campaigns have had a positive influence on the political system of Robeson County, North Carolina.

* Veteran readjustment refers to a veteran's readaptation to civilian life after military service.
• Tri-racial is a colloquial term often used to refer to the three major racial groups (Black, Indian, White) populating Robeson County, North Carolina.


G. Kevin Locklear


Tom Holm





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