Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Group in Facebook

I recently created a group called "Virginia Indian Tribes Seek Federal Sovereignty" on Facebook.

The purpose for creating this group was to create another means of creating a discussion on the topic of federal sovereignty for the Virginia tribes.

The description was simple:

Thomasina E. Jordon Indian Tribes of Virginia are seeking the United States Congress to extend Federal recognition to the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc., the Monacan Indian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe.

Hopefully facebook users interested in Virginia Indian tribes will visit Facebook and become part of the Facebook group. Click here to visit Facebook.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tribal G8

President-elect Obama outlined a number of steps to give the issues facing the Indian community some attention. He has pledged to appoint an American Indian Policy advisor to his senior White House staff.

He has proposed an annual "Tribal G8" meeting of national Tribal leaders to develop an Indian policy agenda. Obama has continuously upheld Tribal sovereignty through support of policies for self-determination and self-governance, and has indicated support for legal protection of sacred places and cultural traditions.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mark Warner

Senator Jim Webb endorsed a bill to grant federal recognition to six Indian tribes in Virginia. The Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2007 was approved in May and never voted upon. A new bill must be reintroduced in the new session of Congress.

New hope is on the horizon with a new minority President-elect all things are possible.

On-board to support the Virginia tribes is Jim Moran, Jim Webb, and Tim Kane. Senator-elect Mark Warner has been support in the past. In 1999 he help to support both Houses of the Virginia General Assembly adopt resolutions embracing federal recognition.

If the Virginia tribes are to be successful addressing senators Byron Dorgan and Lisa Murkowski, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, a consorted effort on the part of Virginia leaders will be needed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alaska Tribal Sovereignty

Governor Palin opposes Alaska tribal sovereignty. Given past court rulings affirming the federally recognized tribal status of Alaska Native villages, Palin does not technically challenge that status. But Palin argues that Alaska Tribes have no authority to act as sovereigns, despite their recognition.

Regarding tribal sovereignty issues Palin has sought to block tribes from exercising any authority even over the welfare of Native children, adhering to a 2004 legal opinion issued by the former Murkowski Administration that no such jurisdiction exists (except when a state court transfers a matter to a tribal court).

Both the state courts and the federal courts have struck down Palin's policy of refusing to recognize the sovereign authority of Alaska Tribes to address issues involving Alaska Native children. Native Village of Tanana v. State of Alaska, 3AN-04-12194 CI (judgment entered Aug. 26, 2008) (Ak. Super. Ct.); Native Kaltag Tribal Council v. DHHS, No. 3:06-cv-00211- TMB (D. Ak.), pending on appeal No 08-35343 (9th Cir.)).

Palin's policy of refusing to recognize Alaska tribal sovereignty remains unchanged.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Federal Sovereignty - Virginia Indian Tribes

Read article on Federal Sovereignty for Virginia Indians I published in NALA magazine.

Reprinted with permission of NALA, The Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals. The article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of Facts & Findings, NALA’s quarterly magazine for paralegals. The article is reprinted here in its entirety. For further information, contact NALA at www.nala.org or phone (918) 587-6828.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chickahominy Pow Wow

Powwow is how the English settlers pronounced the word "pauwau", which referred to a religious ritual among Indians in New England. As the settlers moved west, they called similar gatherings "powwows."

An example of a modern pow wow is the Chickahominy Indians' 57th annual Fall Festival and Powwow held at their tribal grounds in northwestern Charles City County. This powwow is a religious ceremony, picnic, reunion, craft show and festival. The Indian announcer explains to the crowd that this is not for show but a sharing of their culture with everyone there and that this is the way they respect and keep alive their Indian traditions.

The one main theme you come away with is that there is no "I" or "me", it is always "us" or "our" people in reference to everything. I was immensely impressed when the Chief of the Chickahominy, Stephen Adkins, read aloud a letter of congratulations from Virginia Governor Kane regarding the completion of a doctoral degree by one of the tribe members. In addition to her academic accomplishments, Mayflower, is also a member of the Homeland Security Team. Her mother and grandmother were there to look on and comment about her accomplishes and related it to their own education.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Potential Resolution in Six Months

On September 25, 2008 the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing regarding HR 1294. During this meeting committee chairman, Senator Byron L. Dorgan, said "Virginia tribes could see action within six months on their bill to grant them federal recognition." Not the news they were hoping to hear, but encouraging none the less.

This statement gave the Virginia Indians new hope and optimism for a bill they have been lobbying for since 1999 when Moran introduced the bill. They are optimistic the right thing is going to happen. Because of the current banking crisis Congress's attention was focused on a held over special session addressing the bailout of American banks.

Congress was set to adjourn on September 26, 2008. Doran told them to look ahead to next year. The 110th United States Congress was sworn in on January 4, 2007. It will be in session through noon, January 4, 2009. With a presidential election year upon us this little attention would be focused on Indian affairs.

This bill can never become law during the 110th US Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. The bill will again have to be reintroduced during the new 111th United States Congress.

The One Hundred Eleventh United States Congress will be the next meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It is scheduled to meet in Washington, DC from January 3, 2009 to January 3, 2011.

Nottoway POW WOW 2008

The Virginia Indian Tribe at the Nottoway Pow Wow held in Surry County, Virginia shared their culture with the crowd at this event. During the opening ceremonies the color guard included veterans of wars. The Indians always honor veterans at every event.

It was a very close net family affair that included everyone from the children to the elders.

The picture to the left depicts a male Indian from a Northern Canadian Indian tribe who participated in this event.

The concession booths included an assortment of Indian food in conjunction with hot dogs and hamburgers. The handmade crafts on display were also for sale to the public.

Indians tribes from as far away as Mexico demonstrated their cultural by dancing. Before each dance was performed someone would talk about the significance if the and how it related to their way of life. The image to the right shows a male Mexican Indian dancer in his native dress.

These Mexican dancers travel across the United States to share their culture and heritage. The tales of their forefather and life before the Spanish came to what we now call Mexico was translated into folk tales and demonstrated with dance in unison with nature which they relate to the four corners of the earth.

It was as much educational as it was cultural among the Indians tribes when they requested members of the audience to join them in the area. All participants and dancers had to enter the area using the east gate.

Dressed in authentic Indian regalia the Virginia Indians demonstrated that each dance had a different meaning. Some dances required a change of costumes. Certain dances were significant for males while others were only for females, but all were performed with precision, energy and enthusiasm. Indian pride runs deep at these events as expressed in the image below.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thomasina Bill Scheduled for Senate on Indian Affairs Meeting

The Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribe of Virginia bill is slated for a hearing on September 25, 2008.

Tribal advocates expressed disappointment with Congress set to adjourn next Friday without acting on the bill that their protracted fight for federal recognition will have to start over again next year.

The U.S. House unanimously passed the federal recognition bill (HR 1294) on May 8, 2007. Rep. Jim Moran, D-8th, first introduced it in 1999.

No tribal recognition bills have been considered this year. As Chairman for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee most of Dorgan’s work this Congress was dedicated to upgrading Indian health care legislation, which passed the Senate in February.

The purpose of the bill is Federal recognition which entitles the tribes for eligiblility for federal funds that include housing, education and senior care for the tribes’ estimated 3,000 members.

Tribes recognized under the bill include: Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Nansemond, and Monacan Indian Nation.

Virginia Enabling Authority

Virginia Indians have state recognition, but still no federal recognition.

The Virginia council held several business meetings during 2007.
  • Membership Changes
  • Legislative Action
  • State Recognition Activity
  • Fourth Annual Tribal Leadership Summit
  • Support of Jamestown 2007 Activities
  • Historic Highway Markers Program
The enabling authority which recognize Virginia Indians is §2.2-2628:

§ 2.2-2628. Council on Indians; membership; terms; chairman; compensation and expenses; chairman's executive summary.
A. The Council on Indians (the Council) is established as an advisory council, within the meaning of § 2.2-2100, in the executive branch of state government. The Council shall be composed of (i) the chiefs of the Virginia tribes officially recognized by the Commonwealth, (ii) two members appointed at large by the Governor from the Indian population residing in Virginia, and (iii) one nonvoting member appointed by the Governor who is a senior member of his staff. Each at-large member from the Indian population residing in the Commonwealth shall be required, as a condition of his appointment to the Council, to provide verification of his status as an enrolled member of a tribe recognized by either the Commonwealth, another state, or territory. Such verification shall consist of a valid tribal identification card, confirmation of membership through a central tribal registry, a written statement of a tribal chief or council confirming membership, or certification of the enrolled member status from a tribal office.
B. Each chief shall serve a term coincident with his term of office as chief and may appoint one designee who may serve as his representative at Council meetings and other Council activities. The senior member of the Governor's staff shall serve a term coincident with the member's term of office. After the original appointments, the appointments of the at large members shall be for terms of two years except appointments to fill vacancies, which shall be for the unexpired terms. At large members may be reappointed. However, no at large member shall be eligible to serve more than three successive two-year terms.
C. The Council shall annually elect a chair and vice-chair from among its membership. The meetings of the Council shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever the majority of the voting members so request. A majority of members shall constitute a quorum.
D. Members of the Council shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825. Funding for the costs of expenses of the members shall be provided by the Office of the Governor.
E. The chairman of the Council shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual executive summary of the interim activity and work of the Council no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.
(1983, c. 20, § 9-138.1; 1985, c. 448; 1989, c. 406; 1991, c. 563; 1994, c. 755; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 885; 2004, c. 142; 2005, cc. 61, 758; 2007, c. 915.)

Friday, September 5, 2008



I have noticed several inquiries from students asking how they can contact real Indians and do they exists.

Pow Wow's are a great way to learn from Native Americans and observe their traditions.

One source for Native American Events is to visit Pow Wows.com

A source for Virginia Pow Wow's is Virginia Pow Wows.

The Nottway Indian Tribe in Surry County Virginia has a POW WOW scheduled for September 20 and 21, 2008. Visit their new web site for complete information.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Virginia Indians Classified as a Race

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources will dedicate a marker this week to recount the ambush of Indian leaders. This incident occured during the 1623 peace parley with English Soldiers.

One of the speakers is Pamunky Indian Chief William P. Miles.

It is interesting to note that newly released data from the United States Census Bureau on population in Central Virginia includes 20 cities and counties. The Census Bureau label the Virginia Indians as American Indian/Alaska Native. The Indian race account for .35% of the population in Central Virginia.

These 2007 statitics not only verify Indians still exits, but classify them as a race and not ethinic group. View the full report in the Richmond Times Dispatch, August 10, 2008 edition, section A15, titled, Diversity by the numbers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chief of the Chickahominy

In a conversation with the Richmond Times Dispatch Chief Stephen Adkins conveys his optimistic view of the success for federal recognition by the Virginia Indian Tribes. He outlines the details of the tribes success with state recognition and their goal of federal recognition. He describes what the tribes will receive if they gain federal recognition and the support they have and continue to receive to help gain federal recognition.

Read the full article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch July 20, 2008, Section E; A Conversation with the Times-Dispatch - Stephen Adkins, Chief of the Chickahominy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Public Support

In a June letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine asked the committee to schedule a markup date of the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill in May 2007. The next step in the process is for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to approve the bill and send it to the Senate for a full vote.

Additional support from Virginia state Senator Jim Webb who also communicated with the Committee on Indian Affairs, Chairman Senator Byron Dorgan, and the committee's staff, urging them to mark up the bill.

Kaine's letter reiterated Webb's requests and remarked that the bill has made progress during the 110th session of Congress as evidenced by its approval by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007. To prevent the lost of all the work so far Kaine urged the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to take action.

The Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life, an independent public organization that supports Virginia Indians, has worked closely with Webb and Kaine's staff, asking the governor for a letter to express his support.

Time will be the judge to tell if the governor's letter will influence the Committee on Indian Affairs to make efforts to markup of the bill. Public support is critical to the pursuit of federal recognition since Virginia tribes have not received federal recognition yet, especially one year after the commemoration of Jamestown's 400th anniversary.

The Virginia tribes are distinctive because unlike other American tribes that have federal recognition when they signed peace treaties with the federal government, tribes in Virginia signed their peace treaties with the British monarchy. However, while the Virginia tribes have received official recognition from the commonwealth of Virginia, acknowledgment and federal recognition has been slow to come partly due to the systematic mistreatment over the past century.

A "paper genocide" enforced by the passage of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 for nearly 40 years changed Virginia Indians' racial designations from Indians to "colored" on birth, marriage and death certificates. The complex BIA process, which is the normal procedure to obtain federal recognition, but because of the paper genocide make this route all but impossible.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Historical Documents

The instructions for the Virginia Colony in 1606 were:

when you are on the coast of Virginia, you shall do your best endeavor to find out a safe port in the entrance of some navigable river . . . the second instruction was you must in no case suffer any of the native people of the country to inhabit between you and the sea coast . . . in all your passages you must have great care not to offend the naturals [natives] . . . your discoverers that pass over land with hired guides . . . never trust the country people with the carriage of your weapons . . . above all things, do not advertise the killing of any of your men, that the country people may know it; if they perceive that they are but common men, and that with the loss of many of theirs they diminish any part of yours, they will make many adventures upon you.

The first Virginia Charter (April 10, 1606) states:

And that they shall or lawfullie may establishe and cawse to be made a coine, to passe currant there betwene the people of those severall Colonies for the more ease of trafiique and bargaining betweene and amongest them and the natives there, of such mettall and in such manner and forme as the same severall Counsells there shall limitt and appointe.

The second Virginia Charter (May 23, 1609) lacks language to signify natives or Indians.

The Third Virginia Charter (March 12, 1612) mentions uninhabited lands.

An Ordinance and Constitution of the Virginia Company in England (July 24, 1621) number four states set forth the establish of a government not recognizing the natives

Peace Treaty Between The Assateague and Pocomoke Indians and Charles Calvert, Governor of Maryland 1722 were

articles of peace and amity concluded and agreed upon between the Right Honorable Charles Absolute Lord and Proprietor of this province of Maryland and Knosulm and Wassaunge Chiefs of the Assateague and Pocomoke Indians on behalf of themselves and the Indians under their subjections this 22nd day of October 1722 . . . firmation where of the Honorable Charles Calvert, Esq. Governor in Chief in behalf of his said Lordship and the said Knosulm and Wassounge on behalf of themselves and the Indians under their subjection have signed here to in presence of his Lordships Council and of several of the Great Men of the Indians the day and year above written and the Great Seal of this province is hereunto affixed.

The Treaty between Virginia and the Indians, 1677 is another historical document that identifies the Virginia Indians. Bottom of Form

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Federal Acknowledgement Process

The process to attain Federal Recognition by American Indians is the Federal Acknowledgement Process. It has been audited and found to be not effective. Can it be fixed?

The Senate on Indians Affairs Committee after their business meeting will hold an OVERSIGHT HEARING on Recommendations for Improving the Federal Acknowledgment Process. Thursday, April 24, 20089:00 AMSD - 562

I will publish the results of that meeting when they are made available.

Almost One Year

In May 2008 it will be one year since HR 1294 passed the House and has seen no action since. The bill was voted on in the Senate. It now lies in the Senate for Indians Affairs Committee. The ball is in its court.

Briefly, H.R. 1294 would provide federal recognition to six Indian tribes in the state ofVirginia—the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Eastern Division of the ChickahominyIndian Tribe, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc., the MonacanIndian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe. CBO estimates that implementingH.R. 1294 would cost $40 million over the 2008-2012 period, assuming the appropriationof the necessary funds. Enacting H.R. 1294 would have no effect on direct spending orrevenues. H.R. 1294 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in theUnfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no direct costs on state,local, or tribal governments.