Lumbee Tribal Council hosts ceremony to swear in new members

Tasha Oxendine

PEMBROKE — Five new members and two returning members of the Lumbee Tribal Council were administered the oath of office Tuesday.

The Inauguration Ceremony was hosted by the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and took place at the Lumbee Tribe Boys and Girls Club. The Rev. Ricky Burnett was the master of ceremony of a virtual event that was livestreamed.

Joshua D. Malcolm, chief justice of the Lumbee Supreme Court, administered the oath of office to the newly elected Tribal Council members. The newly elected council members are Sharon Hunt, District 2; Harold Smith, District 3; Carrington Locklear, District 5; Richard Jones, District 6; Alvin Mercer, District 7; Chocajuana Oxendine, District 11; and Annie Taylor, District 12. Sharon Hunt and Alvin Mercer are returning council members. Both were reelected to a second term.

The outgoing council members are James B. Hunt, District 3; Jarrod Lowery, District 5; Douglas Locklear, District 6; Frank Cooper, District 11; and Michael Chavis II, District 12.

The Lumbee Tribal Council is made up of 21 district representatives across 14 districts in Robeson, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland counties.

Representatives-elect biographies:

— Sharon Hunt, representative-elect for Lumbee Tribal Council District 2, is retired with 40 years’ experience working with the local government. She worked for the City of Lumberton for more than 29 years, and was most recently employed as the assistant to the city manager. Hunt graduated from Fairgrove High School in 1977. She attended Pembroke State University from 1977-1980, with an emphasis in early childhood education and business administration. She also attended Robeson Community College and Fayetteville State University, becoming certified in paralegal studies. Hunt also completed Monk’s Real Estate School. She previously worked with Robeson County administration and the Public Schools of Robeson County. Hunt previously served on the Lumbee Tribal Council for three terms, and has served as chairwoman. Hunt has also served on the North Carolina Domestic Violence Commission and the Robeson County Humane Society board, and currently serves on the Robeson County Church and Community Center board of directors. Hunt is a member of Reedy Branch Baptist Church in Fairmont.

— Harold Smith, representative-elect for Lumbee Tribal Council District 3, is married to Stephanie Smith. They have five children and six grandchildren. Smith has been in management for more than 30 years with UPS and Smithfield. He enjoys teaching and playing sports with children and spending time with family and friends. Smith is thankful for the opportunity to serve on the Tribal Council and looks forward to helping change the lives of others for the better.

— Carrington Ray Locklear, representative-elect for Lumbee Tribal Council District 5, is the husband of Victoria Locklear and the father of their 2-year-old daughter, Maggie Rae. He is the son of James Ray and Laura Locklear, the grandson of the late Hubert and Gerald Jones, and the late Jane Moore Sampson. He is the great-grandson of the late Spencer and Fancy Locklear. Carrington is in partnership with his brother as owners and operators of A & C Locklear Brothers Farms. He has a strong passion for farming and is a lover of the great outdoors. In addition to the daily requirements of running a farm, he is a 14-year active member of Prospect Volunteer Fire Department, Station 23, where he currently holds the position of captain. He and his family attend Bear Swamp Baptist Church and are always willing to help out with church activities. While farming can be high maintenance and require long days with few breaks, Carrington still finds time to enjoy other outdoor activities. He likes bike riding, training for triathlons and bear hunting. One of his prize trophies is a wonderful black bear rug. All of the above play a major role in Carrington’s life, but even more he loves talking, talking, talking and meeting new people.

— Richard Cameron Jones, representative-elect for Lumbee Tribal Council District 6, is the husband of Eustacia Lowry-Jones and the father of their two children, Alexis Raeanna Jones and Cameron Daniel Jones. Richard is the son of Dexter Jones and Lorrie B. Jones, the grandson of the late Dan R. and Molly Jones, and the late Marvin and Gladys Bullard. Richard was raised by his parents on the farm of his great-grandparents, Proctor Senior and Mary Liza Locklear in Hoke County. Jones is a Hoke County High School graduate and graduated from North Carolina State University, where he was active in reestablishing the Native American Student Association, which is still active. Upon graduation he has lived in Robeson County. Jones has worked with the youth in his community and continues to make lives better for students as a Youth Development specialist with the Public Schools of Robeson County. When not working as a YDS, he spends his time fishing, riding motorcycles and traveling with his wife. Richard attends church at Bear Swamp Baptist. Richard is proud and thankful to be voted on the Tribal Council and looks forward to serving the Lumbee people. He seeks to continue the great strides the tribe has made and to help make the lives of our people better.

— Alvin John (Johnny) Mercer, representative-elect for Lumbee Tribal Council District 7, is the son of the late Alvin and Maggie Mercer. His father served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division for 27 years, and his mother was an educator for 42 years. Mercer has been in construction and worked for the family rental business for 30 years. He has served on the Pembroke Planning Board for six years and continues to serve. Johnny Mercer – in his own words – “I am passionate and committed to helping our Lumbee people and senior citizens, and to improving children’s education in addition to the veteran’s agenda. I am a family man with two children and five grandchildren. I attend Freedom Baptist Church and am a proud Lumbee dedicated to helping our people and all citizens of Pembroke faithfully.”

— Chocajuana Oxendine, representative-elect for Lumbee Tribal Council District 11, is the daughter of Anthony and Pauline Oxendine of Hoke County. She has one brother, Anthony Louis Oxendine, and one son, Kyran Quinn Oxendine. Oxendine has lived in the Hawk Eye/ South Hoke community of Hoke County for most of her life. She is a proud graduate of Hoke County High School, class of 1998. Oxendine enlisted in the United States military, and served in the N.C. National Guard. This allowed her to complete her bachelor’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and graduate in 2010. Oxendine is employed with Sandhills Community College and works at the Hoke Center in Raeford. She is very active in the community. She has been a lifelong member of South Hoke Baptist Church, where she is an active member in church activities. Oxendine currently serves on the HNASA Board in Hoke County, and holds the title of secretary. She also serves on the Hoke County Parent-Teacher Indian Education Committee, where she serves as co-chair. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her son, and spending time with friends and family.

— Annie Taylor, representative-elect for Lumbee Tribal Council District 12, is a lifelong resident of Scotland County. She is the daughter of Belton and Mary Ellen Chavis, and one of six siblings. She is the granddaughter of James (Jimmy) and Mary Liza Locklear. Taylor is a Class of ’77 graduate of Scotland High School. She is the mother of two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel, and the grandmother of four grandchildren: Kaitlyn, Taylor, Tyler and Amanda. The sunshine of her life is her great-grandson, Jadyen. Taylor loves gardening, fishing, spending time with her Family, and talking to the Elders. She loves helping her people.

Tasha Oxendine is the Public Relations manager for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.