Tim Kaine: Correct historical wrong and recognize Virginia tribes

Historic photo of Mattaponi students at the original Sharon Indian School in Virginia. Photo from Upper Mattaponi Tribe

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) calls on Congress to pass S.1074 and recognize six tribes in Virginia:
The Monacans, who call Amherst County home, have lived in Virginia for an astounding 10,000 years. Yet even today, the federal government has yet to recognize any of Virginia’s historic tribes.

Many of the Virginia Indian tribes were situated here in 1607, when Jamestown was founded, or earlier and have maintained their identities for thousands of years. Today, the majority of Virginians, all eight living Virginia governors, and the entire bipartisan congressional delegation support federal recognition. But despite this, the tribes still haven’t received the same recognition the federal government has granted to more than 500 similar tribes in America.

Federal recognition would acknowledge and protect the identities of the tribes. It would also guarantee their people access to much-needed healthcare and emergency assistance, and allow their children to attend federal Indian schools and universities, among many other benefits. The absence of federal recognition has not been for lack of trying. In fact, many tribes have vigorously pursued paths to recognition through the administrative process but have found it to be inefficient, expensive and confusing. The federal process, which is run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, uses a one-size-fits-all system that fails to account for extraordinary circumstances like the barriers Virginia tribes have often encountered.

Get the Story:
Sen. Tim Kaine: Time to Right a Gross Historical Wrong (The Lynchburg News & Advance 12/7)

Related Stories
Sen. Kaine asks BIA to be more flexible with federal recognition (10/03)
Editorial: Pass bill to extend federal recognition to Virginia tribes (09/17)
Opinion: Federal recognition for Virginia tribes long overdue (04/17)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves tribal recognition bills (4/3)

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