Opinion | Federal Recognition

Roger Chelsey: Pamunkey Tribe clears final hurdle for recognition

The Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center is located on the Pamunkey Reservation in Virginia. Photo from Facebook

The Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia is looking toward a brighter future now that its federal recognition is on solid ground. Columnist Roger Chelsey has more from Chief Bob Gray:
Bob Gray, chief of the Pamunkey Indians, knows tribal members should’ve worked ages ago to navigate the bureaucratic hurdles leading to federal designation.

“Looking back, we wished we had done it earlier,” Gray told me Wednesday. He noted the Virginia tribe didn’t begin seeking federal status, in earnest, until around the early 1980s.

“The bar keeps getting raised as each tribe is recognized,” Gray said. Plus, “The Bureau of Indian Affairs is just slow.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior Board of Indian Appeals recently rejected a challenge from an anti-gaming group on the West Coast. The board said the nonprofit Stand Up for California had no standing in the case – no pun intended.

Get the Story:
Roger Chesley: The Pamunkey leap another barrier (The Virginian-Pilot 2/4)

Also Today:
Pamunkey Indians become first Virginia tribe given federal recognition (WTVR 2/2)

Interior Board of Indian Appeals Decision:
In Re Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (January 28, 2016)

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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