Lumbee rush to salvage history, heritage after Hurricane Florence's devastation

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Robeson County remains in recovery mode two weeks after Hurricane Florence made landfall. Homes, businesses and historic sites such as the Indian Education Resource Center are all regrouping.

“This building represents our history. Our culture,” said Rita Locklear, former director of the Indian Education Resource Center. “Inside is jewelry, clothing, students can see where my ancestors lived and worked.”

The facility is an art gallery and museum that houses tons of historical artifacts. It’s a source of pride for the Lumbee and everything they fought to preserve was nearly ruined.

“Florence didn’t just bring wind and rains. It’s ruined lives,” Locklear said.

Hurricane Florence blew the roof off the building as torrential rains poured in. Residents rushed over to salvage as much as they could. In Harpers Ferry, resident Elisha Locklear and his family were doing the same.

“We’ve got a watermark here of 22 inches inside the house,” Elisha Locklear said. “We’re still drying out. Had to get all the insulation out and vinyl off the floors.”

Contractors came to the rescue and helped him make major repairs. In all his 41 years living there, he’s never seen flooding like this, he said. Locklear hopes to have a solution for keeping other storms at bay.

“Pray a little harder and get it and act more like a Christian. Hopefully, God will see it fit to let the storm pass over us next time,” Locklear said.

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