Synopses & Reviews
The Lumbee Indians of North Carolina, although the fifth largest Indian group in the United States, have had a history of difficulty in convincing others of their Indian identity. Like other 'neglected' Eastern Indian groups, they lack treaties, reservations and a continuous record of settlement, and apparently have not practised 'traditional Indian ways' for over two hundred years. This raises questions of how their distinctiveness is formulated and maintained. Using material derived from fieldwork among the Lumbee, Professor Blu argues that deeply-felt notions about their group identity have played a major role in shaping and guiding their political activities for over a century. She traces the changing relationships of the Lumbee with their black and white neighbours in this period. In carving out a third niche for themselves in a biracial system, the Lumbee have demonstrated that the Southern racial structure has been more flexible and complicated than has often been suggested.