Working from Home: Researching Lumbee Indian Identity from the Inside and Outside

Thursday, January 5, 2012: 3:20 PM
Armitage Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Malinda Maynor Lowery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In researching and writing about my own community, the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina, I encountered resistance to some aspects of my research agenda from the tribal government. This resistance concerned my frank discussions of Lumbee political factionalism and its relationship to racial ideology. At the same time, many tribal members enthusiastically embraced my topic, wanting their side of the story to be told. As a historian, this conflict challenged my strong belief in researchers' responsibility to collaborate with tribal governments. But as a Lumbee, I could not ignore my own ancestors' role in this story, nor my kin's desire to see their history in print. Surprisingly, this ethical challenge enhanced the analysis I could bring to my research by helping me understand how the historical issues at stake play out in contemporary Indian life.