Group concedes after defeat in Pamunkey Tribe recognition case


Last updated 3/24/2016 at 12:02pm

Part of the small reservation of the Pamunkey Nation which recently became the 567th federally recognized U.S. Tribe just in time to receive a large grant from the government.

RICHMOND, VA-A small opposition group is conceding defeat after failing to derail federal recognition for the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia.

Cheryl Schmit of Stand Up for California believes she raised important questions about the tribe's status. But she told The Washington Post that other entities will have to carry on the fight after the Interior Board of Indian Appeals dismissed her challenge.

With the appeal-which was the only one filed-out of the way, the Pamunkeys will now become the 567th federally recognized tribe in the United States. The tribe is the first in Virginia to complete the Bureau of Indian Affairs process.

"We are thrilled that federal recognition of the Pamunkey Tribe is finally official. With this long-overdue designation, the Pamunkey is the first Virginia tribe to be recognized and receive access to critical federal benefits," Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine stated in a press release.

Warner and Kaine are sponsoring S. 465S.465, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act, a bill that recognizes five other tribes in the state. Both hope the Pamunkey decision will have secure passage of the measure.

The bill extends federal recognition to the Chickahominy Tribe, Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, the Monacan Nation and the Nasemond Tribe.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved S.465 in a meeting in March 2015. It has not yet been considered on the Senate floor.

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