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.

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