As the annual homecoming of North Carolina's Lumbee Indians ends, tribal leaders and politicians say they're optimistic that full federal recognition will come soon.
Multiple media outlets report that U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger says he's hopeful that Congress will approve full federal recognition. Pittenger spoke to the 15-day Lumbee Homecoming, which ended Saturday.
Pittenger says a meeting will be held with congressional leaders about how to push Lumbee recognition through the U.S. House. He acknowledges lawmakers who represent other tribes are likely to oppose legislation.
Lumbee Chairman Harvey Godwin says it's time for Americans to honor the Lumbee tribe.
Congress recognized the tribe in 1956, but prevented it from receiving federal benefits. Lumbees aren't eligible for federal economic development programs, including disaster relief for damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.