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Chairman Brooks receives Order of Long Leaf Pine

Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks has been awarded one of the state’s most prestigious civilian honors




RALEIGH — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks has been awarded one of the state’s most prestigious civilian honors.

Brooks was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine during the 39th annual North Carolina Indian Unity Conference. The conference was held March 13-15 at the North Hilton in Raleigh.

Brooks was recognized for his 40 years of public service, business and improving the lives of Lumbee and American Indians in education and health care in education, Indian Affairs, business and public service.

“It is such a great honor to be recognized with such a prestigious award,” Brooks said. “I am so undeserving of such an award … I am not worthy … but it is very much appreciated.”

The honor is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary to the state. Recipients are selected based on their contributions to their communities, extra effort in their careers, and many years of service to their organizations.

Greg Richardson, executive director of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs, presented Brooks with the award.

Brooks, a Pembroke native, was first appointed to the Commission in the 1980s. He served as chairman for 20 years before leaving the Commission in 2013.

“Mr. Brooks was a very dedicated chairman of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs,” Richardson said. “He was very compassionate and devoted to the mission and work of the Commission. During his tenure as chairman he sacrificed many hours of time away from his family, to be of service to the Indian people of North Carolina.”

Under Brooks’ leadership, the Commission created an Economic Development Board which supports small businesses in American Indian communities.

The N.C. Indian Health Board and the American Indian Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was established during Brooks’ tenure as chairman

“Under Mr. Brook’s leadership, the commission established a solid legislative agenda process which has resulted in the Commission establishing a legislative agenda each year,” Richardson said.

“That legislative agenda has led to the establishment of the “American Indian License Plate,” Indian Child Welfare Legislation and Indian tribes and Indian communities being included when legislation is being adopted by the NC General Assembly.”

Brooks was an integral part in the establishment of the Lumbee Regional Development Association in 1968. He served on its board of directors and as chairman before leaving in 1986.

He was a member of the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education from 1992 to 2000, serving as the board’s chairman in 1995 and 1996.

In 2010, Brooks was appointed on the board of the state’s Golden LEAF Foundation. He helped award $2 million to various Robeson County agencies as chairman of the Finance Committee.

Brooks was first elected as tribal chairman in 2011.

For the past 22 years, Brooks and his family has worked in health care in Scotland and Robeson counties. Brooks also has experience as a real estate developer and a licensed general contractor.

Brooks is a former member of the Chamber of Commerce in both Pembroke and Scotland County, a lifetime member of the Purnell High School Booster Club, and worked to support UNCP’s “First & Ten Football Campaign” during its developmental stage.

Brooks was married for 47 years to the late Pauline Sampson Brooks. She passed away in 2009. They have four children, Paul Jr., Pamela, Paula and Penny, and a host of grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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