Pamunkey Tribe enters federal recognition era with new chief

Former Chief Kevin Brown of the Pamunkey Tribe, center, is blessed with an honor song during the New Day Now rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 16, 2015. Photo by Indianz.Com

The Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia is entering a new era of federal recognition without its longtime leader.

Kevin Brown spent 12 years on the council before winning election as chief in 2008. He won a second four-year term in 2012 but stepped down last month after the tribe won federal recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Bob Gray, the assistant chief, is now serving as the acting leader of the tribe. He said he's been inundated with calls about people who think they are Pamunkey and want to gain membership.

"We're not an ancestry tree," Gray told The Los Angeles Times. "If you don't have contact with the tribe, your family hasn't had contact with the tribe for hundreds of years since Pocahontas, then no, we don't consider you a member."

The tribe resides on a 1,200-acre reservation that was set aside in Colonial times. Pamunkey ancestors signed treaties with the English in 1646 and 1677 and continue to adhere to provisions, including an annual tribute paid to the state governor every November.

Get the Story:
Pocahontas' tribe, the Pamunkey of Virginia, finally recognized by U.S. (The Los Angeles Times 8/2)

Relevant Documents:
Letter to Chief Brown | Notice of Final Determination

Federal Register Notices:
Final Determination for Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (July 8, 2015)
Proposed Finding for Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (January 23, 2014)

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