Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meet Virginia Tribes for Native American Heritage Month.

To celebrate Native American Heritage Month and educate people about Virginia Indians, the Virginia Department of Education has put together an informative 25-minute video entitled “The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes.”

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/11/26/meet-virginia-tribes-native-american-heritage-month-152424

Thursday, November 21, 2013

United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Inc.

HJ744: United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated; State Recognition.

Offered January 16, 2013
Extending state recognition to the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated.
Patron-- Fariss
Referred to Committee on Rules
WHEREAS, the 1983 Session of the General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 54 recognizing the existence within the Commonwealth of certain named Indian tribes and also acknowledging the fact that members of other Indian tribes reside within the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated, commonly known as the Buffalo Ridge Band of Cherokee, was not among those tribes formally recognized in 1983; and
WHEREAS, Horace R. Rice, in his 1991 book,
The Buffalo Ridge Cherokee: The Colors and Culture of a Virginia Indian Community, describes the rich historical legacy of the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated; and
WHEREAS, the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated, composed of about 650 members, is located in Madison Heights in Amherst County; and
WHEREAS, the members of the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated trace their ancestry back to Northumberland County, where the “king of Wiccocomico Indian Town,” Robert Pinn, is considered the first ancestor chief and patriarch; and
WHEREAS, as the English encroached, the Northern Neck Indians left the area in search of new land for their people and mingled with other Indian tribes, including the Cherokee; and
WHEREAS, Robert Pinn’s great-grandson, Raleigh, who had both Wiccocomico and Cherokee heritage, served briefly as an indentured servant before moving to the Buckingham County and Amherst County area; and
WHEREAS, Raleigh Pinn’s work as a Native American farmer and experiences with white settlers as an indentured servant allowed him to become a successful farmer and Amherst County records from the late 1700s detail his land transactions; and
WHEREAS, Raleigh Pinn also served as a militia man with the Amherst County militia, eventually serving at the Battle of Yorktown; and
WHEREAS, even though Raleigh Pinn successfully assimilated in many ways into the white culture, he continued to honor his Native American heritage; and
WHEREAS, Raleigh Pinn formed two bands of mixed Cherokee and Wiccocomico on land he owned, one in Buckingham County and one at Buffalo Ridge in Amherst County; and
WHEREAS, Raleigh Pinn separated the bands so as to not alarm local white settlers with one large Cherokee settlement; he served as chief of both Cherokee bands for many years; and
WHEREAS, in 1991, the tribes were officially named the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated and today the two bands are led by Samuel H. Penn, Sr.; and
WHEREAS, in 2000, Samuel H. Penn, Sr., and a delegation from the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated were honored at a U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service celebration of Native Americans who fought at Yorktown; and
WHEREAS, the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated and its descendants contributed and continue to contribute to the settlement and growth of the Commonwealth, have maintained their ethnic background, and number among themselves families with well-known names throughout the area and Commonwealth; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That from and after the effective date of this resolution, the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes the existence within the Commonwealth of the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates transmit a copy of this resolution to Chief Samuel H. Penn, Sr., of the United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Incorporated, requesting that he further disseminate copies of this resolution to his constituents so that they may be apprised of the sense of the General Assembly of Virginia in this matter; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Commonwealth, by this resolution, does not address the question of whether the tribe has been continuously in existence since 1776; and, be it
RESOLVED FINALLY, That the Commonwealth, by this resolution, does not confirm, confer, or address in any manner any issues of sovereignty.

Native American Heritage Month

Senate Honors Native American Heritage Month

Resolution Recognizes the Cultures and Contributions of the Tribal Nations of this Country

Nov 21, 2013
WASHINGTON D.C. – The Senate passed a resolution introduced by Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that honors the Nation’s first Americans during Native American Heritage Month.  The resolution passed the Senate on Wednesday, November 20. 

“The contributions that American Indians have made to the foundation of the United States are significant and continue today,” said Cantwell.  “From influencing the documents that founded our Nation to serving in World War II as code talkers, American Indians have helped shape the face of our Nation.”

Chairwoman Cantwell was joined in introducing Senate Resolution 305 by 24 bi-partisan colleagues, including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Harry Reid (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of Senator Cantwell’s floor statement follows:

Each November, the President declares this month as National Native American Heritage Month and the Senate dedicates a resolution honoring the Nation’s first Americans. As Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, it is my privilege to introduce this resolution. I am pleased to be joined by so many of my colleagues, including Senators Baldwin, Barrasso, Begich, Cochran, Crapo, Franken, Gillibrand, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Hirono, Hoeven, Johnson of South Dakota, Klobuchar, Markey, Merkley, Moran, Reid, Schatz, Tester, Thune, Udall of Colorado, Udall of New Mexico, Warner, and Wyden, in introducing this resolution.

Since time immemorial, American Indians have occupied the lands we now know as the United States. To date, the federal government recognizes 566 distinct tribal nations across the country. While these Indian tribes share many attributes, each tribe is unique. The contributions that American Indians have made to the foundation of the United States are significant and continue today. From influencing the documents that founded our Nation to serving in World War II as code talkers, American Indians have helped shape the face of our Nation. It is fitting that we are honoring the Code Talkers this week with a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, as Native Americans have served in the military at a higher rate per capita than any other group in the country.   

Native American heroes played a significant role in World War II. Among them was Charles Chibitty of the Comanche Nation, who aided the successful landing at Normandy and the capture of an enemy flag in a French village, for which he was recognized by the French government. The Code Talkers came from many tribes, including the Navajo, who played a crucial role in the Pacific. The Choctaw, Sioux, Assiniboine, Apache, Hopi, Mohawk and many other tribes gave this Nation their dedication, determination and courage. They will never be forgotten.   

I am honored to represent the 29 tribes in my home state of Washington. Tribal culture is woven into the fabric of our State, as a critical part of not only the State’s history, but also its modern-day economy and governance. In 2012, Washington State tribes purchased more than $2.4 billion in goods, paid $1.3 billion in wages, and spent $259 million on construction activities. The Tribes and the State are partners in virtually every aspect of governance, from natural resource management to tax collection.

Many of the tribes in my State entered into agreements with the United States government over the last two and a half centuries for cessions of land and natural resources. In exchange for these lands, the United States promised essential services to American Indians. As the Trustee for Indian nations across the United States, the federal government has much work to do. I am encouraged by events like the Tribal Nations Conference, which has been convened annually since the election of President Obama. While this is a step in the right direction, we must do more to ensure that our Indian communities are thriving. 

As we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, I encourage my colleagues to take some time and think about the federal government’s responsibilities to our first people. I ask my colleagues to support this resolution designating November 2013 as National Native American Heritage Month and November 29 of this year as Native American Heritage Day, and I encourage all Americans to recognize the important contributions American Indians have made to this great Nation.

The full text of Senate Resolution 305 follows:

Recognizing National Native American Heritage Month and celebrating the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States.
Whereas from November 1, 2013, through November 30, 2013, the United States celebrates National Native American Heritage Month;
Whereas Native Americans are descendants of the original, indigenous inhabitants of what is now the United States;
Whereas the United States Bureau of the Census estimated in 2010 that there were more than 5,000,000 individuals in the United States of Native American descent;
Whereas Native Americans maintain vibrant cultures and traditions and hold a deeply rooted sense of community;
Whereas Native Americans have moving stories of tragedy, triumph, and perseverance that need to be shared with future generations;
Whereas Native Americans speak and preserve indigenous languages, which have contributed to the English language by being used as names of individuals and locations throughout the United States;
Whereas Congress has consistently reaffirmed its support of tribal self-governance and its commitment to improving the lives of all Native Americans by enhancing health care and law enforcement resources, improving the housing and socioeconomic status of Native Americans, and approving settlements of litigation involving Indian tribes and the United States;
Whereas the United States is committed to strengthening the government-to-government relationship that it has maintained with the various Indian tribes;
Whereas Congress has recognized the contributions of the Iroquois Confederacy, and its influence on the Founding Fathers in the drafting of the Constitution of the United States with the concepts of freedom of speech, the separation of governmental powers, and the system of checks and balances between the branches of government;
Whereas with the enactment of the Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-33; 123 Stat. 1922), Congress--
(1) reaffirmed the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Native American governments; and
(2) recognized the important contributions of Native Americans to the culture of the United States;
Whereas Native Americans have made distinct and important contributions to the United States and the rest of the world in many fields, including the fields of agriculture, medicine, music, language, and art, and Native Americans have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and scholars;
Whereas Native Americans have served with honor and distinction in the Armed Forces of the United States, and continue to serve in the Armed Forces in greater numbers per capita than any other group in the United States;
Whereas the United States has recognized the contribution of the Native American code talkers in World War I and World War II, who used indigenous languages as an unbreakable military code, saving countless Americans; and
Whereas the people of the United States have reason to honor the great achievements and contributions of Native Americans and their ancestors: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—

(1)   recognizes the month of November 2013 as National Native American Heritage Month;

(2)   recognizes the Friday after Thanksgiving as `Native American Heritage Day' in accordance with the Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-33; 123 Stat. 1922); and

(3)   urges the people of the United States to observe National Native American Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Day with appropriate programs and activities.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

US Senate on Indian Affairs Committee

Today is the hearing before the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington DC.

628 Dirksen Office Building
2:30 PM


S. 1074, 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; S. 1132, to provide for the recognition of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and for other purposes; and S. 161, to extend the Federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, and for other purposes.

2:30pm – Business meeting (should last 5 minutes)

2:35pm – Legislative Hearing will commence (members will be given 5 minutes each)

Witnesses Panel I:

Senator Burr to testify
Senator Kaine to testify
Senator Hagan to testify

Witnesses Panel II:

The Honorable Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior

Witnesses Panel III:

The Honorable Stephen Adkins, Chief Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Charles City, VA
The Honorable Paul Brooks, Chairman Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Pembroke, NC
The Honorable Gerald Gray, Chairman Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, Black Eagle, MT

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Federally Recognizied Indian Tribe Acti of 1994

Enacted by the President on November 2, 1994 the H.R. 4180 (103rd): Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 became the law.

Nearly 19 years have passed that established a tribe can be federally recognized by an an act of Congress, a court ruling, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

The last time Congress recognized an Indian tribe was in 2000 when they recognized the Loyal Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Since 2009, the BIA has granted federal recognition to one tribe (Shinnecock Indian Nation, a 32 year process) and denied recognition to five tribes. In 2002, the Schagticoke were granted federal recognition by the BIA only to have it revoked a short time later.

Federal recognition acknowledges a tribe's sovereignty and establishes a government-to-government relationship with the federal government. It also gives federally recognized tribes access to certain federal benefits and programs. The benefits of state recognition are much more limited and state-recognized tribes do not enjoy the same immunities as federally recognized ones.

It has been determined that the BIA process is broken, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe of Virginia were told that many of them wouldn’t live long enough to see their tribe officially recognized.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Tribe Status Rules

North Stonington - First Selectman Nicholas Mullane II is calling proposed changes in the federal government's recognition of Indian tribes "a major relaxing" of standards now in place.
Under the revisions, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs would review a petitioning tribe's "community and political authority" beginning with the year 1934 "and eliminate the requirement that an external entity identify the group as Indian since 1900," the BIA said in a June 21 news release.
"We are starting with an open mind and no fixed agenda, and we're looking forward to getting input from all stakeholders before we move forward ...," said Kevin Washburn, the department's assistant secretary for Indian Affairs.
If adopted, the changes could have implications for the Eastern Pequot Tribe of North Stonington as well as other tribes in Connecticut and throughout New England, according to Mullane, who has long had a keen interest in the process.
"For the last two or three years, we have submitted FOI (freedom-of-information) requests for what's going on with federal recognition, and have received nothing," he said last week. "Now, we know."
The proposed revision regarding a petitioning tribe's continuity as a unit begins on the first page of the BIA's preliminary draft of the changes. It defines "continuously" or "continuous" as "extending from 1934 to the present substantially without interruption," replacing the phrase, "extending from first sustained contact with non-Indians throughout the group's history."
Mullane said the change constitutes "a dilution, a watering down" of existing regulations.
"Tribes won't have to be historical tribes anymore," he said. "There are tribes that have maintained their continuity from Day One, that have acted as a tribe, with a chief, a structure, members; now the BIA's saying they don't need that.
"There just won't be any stringent requirements anymore."
In addition to the Eastern Pequots, Mullane suggested, Connecticut's Schaghticoke and Golden Hill Paugussett tribes could benefit from the revisions. Though recognized by the state, all three tribes have failed to gain the federal recognition that could entitle them to certain rights and privileges, including federal funds.
Federally recognized tribes are eligible to have the U.S. government take land into trust for them, a process that exempts the land from local jurisdiction. For the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, federal recognition was a precursor to their development of casinos.
The Eastern Pequots and the Schaghticokes won federal recognition in preliminary BIA decisions that were subsequently reversed.
Mullane said North Stonington will oppose the revisions as best it can. though he said he doubts he'll be able to attend any in a series of public meetings the Department of the Interior will conduct over the next couple of months. The nearest meeting is July 31 in Maine. The department is also accepting written comment until Aug. 16.
"The first thing we have to do is find a bunch of money, because it won't be cheap," Mullane said of efforts to fight the proposed changes.
He said North Stonington spent $750,000 in legal fees opposing the Eastern Pequots' bid for federal recognition, and that the towns of Ledyard and Preston contributed a "couple hundred thousand dollars." Before that, he said, the three towns combined to spend $1.2 million to fight the Mashantuckets' attempt to annex land adjacent to their reservation.
Mullane said he has alerted Ledyard Mayor John Rodolico and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, to the BIA's plan and will seek their support and the support of others in opposing it.
"We have to address it as soon as possible," he said.

White House Council on Native American Affairs

On Wednesday, November 13, President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. The conference will provide leaders from the 566 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference.

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Rules for Recognition of American Indian Tribes

The Obama administration has decided to amend federal rules for recognizing American Indian tribes, making it easier for those lacking the designation to achieve this new status—and possibly gain new economic opportunities, including health and educational benefits and control over commercial development.
Drafted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the new regulations would streamline the approval process for tribes to gain federal recognition. A key change would make it less difficult to be recognized by having to demonstrate political continuity only since 1934, instead of “first contact” with European settlers, which is the existing rule.
But with more tribes becoming “official” in the eyes of Washington, the potential could expand for political and economic conflicts between tribes, or between tribes and non-tribal communities.
For example, the 100-member Schaghticoke Indian Tribe in Connecticut is seeking federal recognition, and that worries residents in the town of Kent because the tribe claims land sitting beneath established properties, like the Kent School, a boarding school.
The tribe may also try to open a casino, a move that has stirred concerns in other locations where American Indians have used gambling to improve their economic well-being.
Richard Monette, a law professor and expert on American Indian tribes at the University of Wisconsin, told the Associated Press that more tribal recognition could increase inter-tribal frictions in some regions.
He cited the tribes along the Columbia River in Washington state, where arguments may arise over control of salmon fishing.
To date, the federal government has recognized 566 American tribes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

113th Congress

H.R. 783 (112th): Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2011. The status of this bill is dead, (referred to committee) without any action by the 112th congress whose term ended on January 3, 2013.

The 113th Congress met in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 2013, and is scheduled to end on January 3, 2015. What are we almost half way through the first year now with no new bill being reintroduced.  So far that leaves the schedule of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs empty as far as Virginia Indians recognition.

Lets see if I can get this straight the state of Virginia has given recognition to the Virginia Native American tribes. So, Virginia can see them, but Washington, D.C. cannot see them?

Friday, March 22, 2013

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WHY are Virginia Indian tribes not recognized by the federal government? Think about the history books that document the generosity of the Powhatan tribes toward the Jamestown settlers. They are attempting to bypass the Bureau of Indian Affairs to gain recognition through congress. For the past decade, bills have been written and approved only to quietly die in congress.

Partisan politics? Federal recognition of Virginia Indians receives bipartisan support from Governor Bob McDonnell. Senators Webb and Warner and Congressmen Moran, Scott, Connolly, and Wittmann have co-sponsored legislation.

The reason they are bypassing the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1924, Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act, promoted by Walter Plecker. A white supremacist and advocate of eugenics, Plecker was the head of the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Virginia. The Racial Integrity Act limited the races to only White and Colored. Vital records were altered in the following decades to eradicate any ethnicity except White or Colored.

Because the Virginia Indians' vital records were altered or destroyed, they don't have a paper trail proving their ancestry. The Bureau of Indian Affairs requires this paper trail and without it the Virginia Indian tribes cannot successfully apply for recognition.

The 6 Virginia Indian tribes seeking recognition through congress have given up their option to ever operate casinos, even if Virginia legalizes casino gaming.
The federal Indian trust responsibility is a legal obligation under which the US charged itself with "moral obligations of the highest responsibility and trust" toward Indian tribes. Chief Justice John Marshall first discussed this obligation in 1831. The trust doctrine requires the United States to protect tribal treaty rights, lands, assets, and resources of American Indian tribes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I've been following this issue for some time now; I've spoken to people on both sides of this issue.

Yet another day goes by with no action on this topic.

How frustrating this is.

It is certainly frustrating to me and I don't have a dog in the fight. My objective was to stay neutral so I could report the progress objectively. (You have to love Walter Cronkite)

Every new congressional session another bill is re-introduced and the players change. This is a game I've experienced in the business world, if you ignore it long enough it will go away.

The excuses of why this bill has not been voted upon abound. It gets to committee and nothing happens.

It seems there is something more here.

America no longer has an agenda it seems. It used to be we wanted to help people. Problems were identified and we developed a plan and forged ahead and stayed the course.

It's as though people in office cannot or are afraid to make decisions. What are they scared of? Right or wrong? Good or bad? It seems that nothing happens these days and things are constantly being passed down with no effect or result.

Make a decision YES or NO, how simple is that? Why are things so complex and complicated that it takes a 100 page manual to explain the simplest details?

These are things I've observed and so I have to ask the question. Is it asking too much for a resolution to this issue?