Lawmakers introduce bill to extend recognition to Virginia tribes

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

Six members of Virginia's Congressional delegation are introducing legislation to extend federal recognition to six tribes in the state.

Virginia's tribes were among the first to greet European settlers. They signed some of the first treaties but many of their records were destroyed during the Civil War and their Indian identity was officially expunged from state documents, starting in the early 1900s.

The bill is being introduced in the Senate and the House today. It extends recognition to the Chickahominy Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe - Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, the Monacan Nation and the Nansemond Tribe.

“The Virginia Indian tribes have played an integral role in our Commonwealth’s and our country’s history, and it is a grave injustice that the federal government has failed to grant them federal recognition because of unique circumstances out of the tribes’ control,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) said in a press release. “I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill to grant the Virginia tribes the long overdue recognition they have earned, and I will continue working tirelessly with my colleagues until the federal government rights this wrong.”

Get the Story:
Kaine, Wittman press to get US recognition of Va. tribes (AP 2/11)

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