This episode is the fourth installment in our Main Street NC series from the WUNC Politics Podcast.
The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina is based in the small town of Pembroke, and this corner of Robeson County has one of the highest concentrations of American Indians in the state. The Lumbee Tribe is also a considerable political force across Robeson – and it’s had to fight hard throughout its history to gain that political power. In recent years, many Lumbees have helped shift Robeson County politically from a place with a reliable majority for the Democratic Party to a county that largely supports Republicans.
To understand why, WUNC spoke with N.C. Rep. Jarrod Lowery, a Republican who is the state's only American Indian legislator. Lowery discusses how the push for Lumbee federal recognition in Congress and political parties' shifting presence in Robeson County played a part in the change.