6 Virginia tribes win federal recognition
Free Press wire reports | 2/9/2018, 6:50 a.m.
Six Indian tribes in Virginia have secured federal recognition after nearly 20 years.
The recognition became official Monday when President Trump signed legislation that recently passed Congress.
The Virginia tribes now with federal recognition include the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan and the Nansemond.
Only one Virginia tribe, the Pamunkey, previously had been granted federal recognition.
Congressman Robert J. “Rob” Wittman, a Republican who represents Virginia’s 1st District, introduced the legislation that will enable the tribes to deal directly with the government, allow their members to apply for federal services and authorize the tribes seek the return of their ancestors’ remains that researchers took for study.
The bill bans the tribes from seeking to establish casinos.
The legislation repeatedly passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but languished in the U.S. Senate until Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia were able to get it approved on a unanimous vote three weeks ago.
Wayne Adkins, the first assistant chief of the Chickahominy tribe, said the tribes never gave up despite setbacks and barriers. He said his tribe began discussing seeking federal recognition in the 1920s, but it took decades to make progress.
He said this latest effort started in 1999.