Pamunkey Tribe faces challenge to federal recognition decision

Former Chief Kevin Brown of the Pamunkey Tribe, center, is blessed with an honor song during the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development's New Day Now rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 16, 2015. Photo by Indianz.Com

Federal recognition for the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia is on hold pending the resolution of a last-minute appeal filed by an anti-Indian group on the other side of the country.

Stand Up for California asked the Interior Board of Indian Appeals to review the matter, The Washington Post reported. The group's request was filed on Tuesday, the last day possible, meaning the tribe will have to wait longer for its federal status to become final.

“Stand Up for California’s request to the IBIA for reconsideration is unfounded, meritless, and unsupported by evidence,” Mark C. Tilden, the tribe’s attorney, said in a statement to the Post. “The tribe’s sovereign strength, which traces back well before the arrival of the earliest colonists to Virginia, will see it through this frivolous attack as it has seen it through so many other thoughtless, mean-spirited attacks in the past.”

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.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs cited the long history in its decision to recognize the tribe. It marked the first time a Virginia tribe has completed the Office of Federal Acknowledgment process.

Stand Up For California previously submitted comments about the tribe's petition during the BIA's public comment period. The group is known for making exaggerated and unfounded claims about Indian law and policy.

Get the Story:
Federal recognition put on hold for Virginia’s Pamunkey Indian tribe (The Washington Post 10/9)

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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