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The following is an excerpt of The Exsanguination of the Second Society: Scholarly Historical Fiction Relating to Robeson County, North Carolina’s Tuscaroras by Stephanie M. Sellers. It is from Chapter 5: The Good-Old-Boys Club Sucks Now. It was provided by the author.
Miss Lucy found eggs and canned biscuits in the refrigerator and had breakfast on the table at 6:30. As Jake sat in front of his scrambled eggs across from his roomie, he said, “Bes a gaumed up mess. Sorry I got you into this.”
“No,” her gentle smile warmed the cool kitchen, “I haven’t felt this alive since, since, a long time.”
They returned kind expressions and drank a pot of coffee as Jake read through her clippings and stopped when a headline revealed that in 1973 several thousand pounds of stolen Bureau of Indian Affairs reports had been found in Maxton, NC.
“Appalachian State’s website has a chronological list of events on the Robeson Peoples, but fails to include pertinent details, so I found the newspaper clipping from a library database and made a copy.”
“And this?” Jake slipped a stack of stapled papers from under the couch cushion, “Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.”
“I had a feeling you’d take the bait,” she sipped her cold coffee staring out the window at her little car and Jake turned to page 3, “We are proceeding on the theory that people who exercise authority should be held accountable for what happened.” That is the meat of the Indian problem right there in one sentence. When Jake’s twisted repose led to a couple of fast tears, he wiped them dry.
“Bruce was,” Miss Lucy stalled, “he was not a part of that.”
“His people though, they got him into this. It just rubs me wrong, the same thing – the conspiracy against Tuscarora by the Lumbee. There’s a interview out there with Dr. Malinda Lowry – wrote the book pushing the Siouan theory, and she says she’s close friends with Nancy Strickland at the university’s museum. Henry Berry Lowrey is their hero, even have a film on him, but nothing about him being a Mighty Tuscarora. I swear, there is some kind of cover-up going on.” He sniffed, “They’re so outnumbered.”
Her shoulders rose and fell as she contemplated sitting at the table again, “The tables have turned on the Mighty Tuscarora but like the Bible says there is nothing new under the sun and I believe it. Like poor Israel. Did you read the seizure report in full?”
“Yes, and I woke up thinking about that fat satchel full of files – called me like donuts about four o’clock.”
“You stinker, like Christmas, isn’t it? Learning something new and what a fiasco, Lord,” she giggled.
“It must a’ been like that in the seventies,” Jake mused, “Indians fit in with all the other extremists and had reached their boiling point. But I never heard of the Trail of Broken Treaties.”
“Well, your age and this county account for that. It’s operated on Lumbee ideology,” she spouted, and he agreed. “They’d started out in the Arlington Cemetery on a Friday the 13th,” she asked, “The Indians made 20 demands on the federal government after breaking into the Bureau of Indian Affairs and caused 250 thousand in damages and stole 700 thousand dollars-worth of art and artifacts, on top of walking out of the building, in and out for 6 consecutive days, carrying over 7 thousand pounds of reports and no one stopped them, not even the U.S. Marshalls.”
“I read that, and administrators formally declined written requests for them to testify on what happened. That’s mighty curious, don’t you think?”
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