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We Still Believe

Cleaning up Lumbee Land

Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin toured Lumbee country early Saturday morning congratulating dozens of tribal members who volunteered for trash pickup in various Indian communities throughout “Lumbee Land.”

The Chairman’s first stop was in Union Chapel where more than 40 volunteers met to clean up the area along Union Chapel Road in the heart of the historic Indian community. Organizers say the Richland Swamp bridge area near the school was one of the worst areas, but it was quickly cleaned. Godwin is shown above with volunteers Madison Deese, Tracy Locklear, Diane Goins, the wife of former chairman Jimmy Goins, her grandson Owen Deese and her daughter Jackie Deese. All were part of a group of volunteers organized from Union Chapel Holiness Methodist Church. “God created the earth for us to enjoy, not destroy,” Diane Goins said. “It is part of our Christian duty to keep the Earth clean. It has been a pleasure working out here with all these young people today doing this great work.”

A group of volunteers who helped clean trash in the Union and Evans Cross Roads communities early Saturday listen intently as Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin delivers a stirring message about the importance of maintaining a clean environment. The cleanup efforts there were spearheaded by the Union Elementary Girl Scouts Troop No. 4044. This was the third such clean up for the young Girl Scouts, who just started their troop in March 2015.

The chairman applauded their efforts and told them what great role models they were for other young people as well as adults. He said their hard work and dedication to their community is indicative of the proper upbringings their parents are providing. Godwin reminded the nearly 50 youth and adults taking part in the clean up how much a clean community reflects positively on tribal members living there. He congratulated them on sacrificing their Saturday to volunteer in the clean up and doing their part to make the community look good. “I think that it is everyone’s duty to keep our communities clean,” Godwin said. “What you are doing here is wonderful. I’m hoping folks in all of our Indian communities will start similar projects because it’s important for us to look good. We have a lot of wonderful people among the Lumbees and I’m certainly proud of each one of you. Thank you again for what you’re doing.”

Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin stopped by the Evans Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department to chat with a group of local volunteer fire and rescue personnel who showed the true meaning of volunteering by taking part in trash pickup in their community. The often-overlooked upstanding members of the community who frequently rise from their beds at 3 a.m. to rescue motorists in crashed vehicles, extinguish structure fires and other acts of heroism for no pay were out in full force early Saturday morning. Evans Crossing’s finest were ecstatic over the visit from the tribal chairman. He was able to see their clean fire department building with shiny fire trucks kept ready at a moment’s notice to spring into action. The volunteers invited the chairman back to “break bread” with them during one of their monthly meetings where they cook and feed the entire department.

The chairman thanked them for their hospitality and for their efforts in the community. “I just think it’s great what you guys are doing here to not only protect the community, but also helping to keep it clean,” Godwin said. “You guys are doing a tremendous service not only for the people here, but also for the thousands of others traveling through here who you help to keep safe. I know you don’t always get the recognition you deserve for what you do, but I want to personally say thank you for your hard work and dedication. You guys are carrying on the spirit of our ancestors who were all about helping one another throughout Indian land. God bless you all.”

Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin takes a moment to congratulate a group of volunteers from Power Point church on N.C. 211 in the Saddletree community near Lumberton for their hard work in cleaning up the roadsides in that part of Lumbee country early Saturday. The church’s youth group petitioned to be a part of the clean up efforts in conjunction with “Earth Day.” They were among dozens of tribal members who volunteered for trash pickup in various Indian communities throughout “Lumbee Land” this weekend.

The tribal chairman told them he was impressed with the level of pride they had shown for the historic Indian community in Saddletree. “This is what we need to be doing in all of our communities,” Godwin said. “We have to protect Mother Earth. This is part of being an Indian. Our ancestors always valued our planet and they took a lot of pride in keeping the Indian communities looking good. They may not have had a lot of material possessions, but what our ancestors had was pride in being an Indian and representing their communities well. I want to personally thank you for what you’re doing. Keep up the great work.” Godwin later noted how our Indian ancestors were regarded as master road builders and how the Lumbee communities had the best roads in the region in the 1800s because of the dedication of tribal ancestors back then who believed in taking care of their communities. “I’m glad to see the work our ancestors did back then is carrying over to our people today, especially our youth,” Godwin said. “I think that the work they are doing is amazing and they are to be commended for giving up their free family time on the weekend to take part in such a worthy cause.”


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