This month and every month, Lux celebrates the diverse culture and rich heritage of Native Americans. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, Lux would like to highlight a Q&A with one of our Native team members, Patrick Strickland. Patrick supports our Tribal Technical Assistance Team as the Senior Technical Advisor for Community Services.
Q: What is your Native American heritage or Tribal affiliation?
A: Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina [People of the Dark Water]
Q: When thinking about Native American Heritage Month, what do you think is most important for non-Natives to understand?
A: It is important for non-Natives to understand and acknowledge the contributions made by Native Americans. Indian Country is made of more than 600 Tribes who are each unique in culture and identity.
Q: How does your Native American identity enrich your work?
A: Historically, Tribes have faced challenges due to access. As an American Indian, understanding these challenges and being part of the solutions enriches the work I am able to provide to Indian Country.
Q: How has your family and lineage influenced your career/work?
A: My family has historically been sharecroppers or employed in the textile industry. This ethic of hard work and determination encouraged me to become a first generation college graduate and make a difference within the community that I lived. Now, I have the opportunity to make a difference nationally.
Q: Is there something about your heritage, culture, or Tribal history that you would like to share?
A: The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina received federal acknowledgement in 1956 during the “termination era” of when the Federal government was getting out of Tribal business. The congressional act provided Federal acknowledgement without BIA benefits that are available to Tribes. During the termination era, seven Tribes received acknowledgement and since then 6 of the Tribes have received full recognition.
Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina is the ONLY Tribe in the United States that currently has federal acknowledgement without federal BIA benefit. The Tribe currently has legislation before Congress to extend full recognition.
Thank you, Patrick, for teaching us more about your heritage and sharing your inspiration to connect with your culture. To learn more about Lux’s work with Tribes and Tribal Organizations across the country, please check out our Tribal Training & Technical Assistance page. To connect with our Tribal Technical Assistance Team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.