A dancer at a powwow hosted by the Chickahominy Tribe. Photo: Tony Alter

Virginia tribes still pushing for federal recognition after 400 years

Six tribes in Virginia are once again moving closer to federal recognition.

The House passed H.R.984, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act, by a voice vote on May 17. A companion bill now awaits action in the Senate, where it has faltered in prior years.

"We are inching closer and closer,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), who was the 2016 Democratic vice presidential candidate, told The Washington Post. He is a sponsor of S.691, which cleared the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the same day as the House vote.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, applies to the Chickahominy Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe - Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, the Monacan Nation and the Nansemond Tribe. All have agreed to a prohibition on gaming and all will be able to follow the land-into-trust process if the measure becomes law.

Ancestors of the tribes welcomed the first European settlers at Jamestown and were among the first to sign treaties with foreign nations.

Read More on the Story:
‘400 years is long enough’: Virginia’s ‘first contact’ Indian tribes demand federal recognition (The Washington Post 5/26)

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