PEMBROKE — Jimmy Goins, a former chairman of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, is being remembered as a charismatic leader who worked to improve the plight of Lumbee Indians, pushing them to the brink of full recognition.
“He loved his people, but he also was a man for all men,” said David Weinstein, a former mayor of Lumberton and state senator. “He was a man you could talk to, have a difference of opinion, and he would never get mad. His word was his bond. You could shake hands and it was a done deal. He was respected by all.”
Goins, 66, was killed Sunday in a single-car accident as he was traveling alone on N.C. 71 , about 4.4 miles north of Maxton, according to the state Highway Patrol. According to a report filed by Trooper S.C. Hunt, Goins was traveling south when his vehicle ran off the road to the right, struck a highway sign and overturned before striking a tree and coming to a rest on its top.
Goins was the second elected Lumbee tribal chairman, and served two three-year terms, from 2004 to 2010. There had been speculation that he would announce that he would again be a candidate for chairman this November.
Goins, who owned an insurance business in Red Springs, was also a farmer. He was especially well known throughout the Prospect and Philadelphus communities, and his political ties stretched across the region and the state.
On Monday, Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement saying that as chairman of the tribe Goins “devoted his tenure to serving the youth and veterans of the community.”
“He will always be remembered for his service and dedication to the Lumbee people, the state and the entire nation,” McCrory said.
Before becoming chairman, Goins served as a member of the Lumbee Tribal Council and assisted in the early stages of development of the tribal government and the Lumbee Tribal Constitution. He was a member of the Lumbee Self-Determination Commission from 1998 to 2000, served as a member of the Lumbee Tribal Council, and was chairman of the tribe’s Federal Recognition Committee.
As chairman, he led tribal efforts to move the Lumbee Recognition Bill through both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The House passed the Lumbee Recognition Bill in 2007, with the bill passing the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2008 and becoming eligible for full Senate consideration in 2008.
Bob Shiles is a reporter for The Robesonian. He can be reached at 910-416-5165.