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Old 11-23-2007, 09:28 AM   #1
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VA Tribes Fail To Gain Sovereign Status

By Brigid Schulte - The Washington Post

They have donned their fringed buckskin, bone breastplates and finest headdresses made of turkey feather or porcupine hair. They have danced for the Queen of England. They have smiled for President George W. Bush.

At every turn during this Jamestown 400 Commemoration, Virginia's remaining Indian tribes have done everything asked of them.

As the anniversary year draws to a close, however, they do not have the one thing they wanted most: federal recognition as sovereign Indian nations, equal to the Navajo, Arapaho and the Sioux. "First to greet. Last to be recognized," had been their rallying cry. Now, many Virginia Indians find themselves in a familiar, hollow place.

"You're left feeling that this is all kind of superficial, from the Indian point of view. Like we were used one more time," said Chief Ann Richardson of the Rappahannock tribe. "You feel like in 2008, they might just forget about us again."

"Broken promises to Indians," added Chief Ken Adams of the Upper Mattaponi. "The cycle does repeat itself, doesn't it?"

On Wednesday, leaders from some of the eight state-recognized Indian tribes again donned their regalia to offer their annual Thanksgiving tribute of fish and game to the governor, honoring the 1646 treaty with the British Crown that gave them the reservation land that over the centuries only two tribes, the Pamunkey and Mattaponi, have been able to hold on to.

There was such excitement this time last year, tribal members said, as they readied for the world's eyes. "Now, we're afraid that we've lost the moment," said Reginald Tupponce, an Upper Mattaponi leader who recently resigned his position from the Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life, a group that hosts pow wows and yard sales and raffles baked goods to raise funds to lobby for federal recognition.

Uncertain road to recognition
The road to federal recognition for any tribe is steep and uncertain. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has a Federal Office of Acknowledgement that requires tribes to prove, with reams of exacting documents and genealogies, that they have been in continuous existence from the time of first contact with European settlers. That's 400 years for Virginia Indians.

"The procedures put in place were so stringent, they were designed to limit the groups that could come in," said Mark E. Miller, a historian who has written books about forgotten eastern tribes.

So a process that was designed to take two years for the 300-some tribes that have applied instead generally takes 20, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Some tribes have instead appealed to Congress. But some powerful figures, such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), argue that lawmakers do not have the expertise to make the call. And in the days since the Indian gaming/Jack Abramoff scandal that sent lobbyists to jail for defrauding Indian tribes, the route through Congress has become close to impossible.

Tupponce remembers sitting in the gallery high above the House of Representatives in spring, holding his breath as lawmakers debated whether to pass the legislation that would give sovereign status to six Virginia tribes: the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Nansemond, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock and Monacan.

The bill would enable their children to apply for scholarships and would open up federal funds for housing, health care and economic development.

It would mean that they could finally petition the federal government to return the bones of their ancestors from the drawers and boxes of Smithsonian warehouses to be buried with respect, something that only tribes with federal status are allowed to do.

But that day, all lawmakers argued about was gambling. This time, though, Virginia Indians had signed away their right to it.

Bill held up over gambling
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a fierce opponent of gambling, had nearly single-handedly held up their bill for eight years. Now, he was finally giving his grudging support. "My concern is not with the federal recognition of Virginia's Indian tribes," Wolf told his colleagues. "It has always been with the explosive spread of gambling and the potential for casino gambling to come to Virginia."

Other lawmakers called the tribes "arrogant" for trying to bypass the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tupponce shook his head. They had tried to apply at the bureau. But when the chiefs met with bureau officials in the late 1990s, they were emphatically told that their petitions would probably not be looked at in their lifetimes. And if they were, the actions of Walter A. Plekker, who served as head of the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics for much of the 20th century and changed the race on all their birth, death and marriage records from "Indian" to "colored," would make their case almost impossible to prove.

So it was such a sweet moment, Tupponce said, when the bill passed that May day. After eight years of lobbying, it was the farthest they had gotten. Three days later, the Queen of England, the president and television crews from around the world would arrive in Jamestown for the vaunted Anniversary Weekend.

"We had so much momentum in the House leading up to the Anniversary Weekend. The coalescence of those two events seems more than coincidental," said Karenne Wood, a member of the Monacan Nation. "Some people are suggesting that they were just making sure that there wouldn't be public protests. And I wouldn't disagree."

After the high of the weekend, everything stopped. Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who had in previous years given his support to the recognition bill, was silent. And newly elected Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) said he needed time to study their history and claims. After months, sending staffers to dig in historical records and scrutinize genealogies, Webb was satisfied. On Nov. 8, flanked by tribal leaders, he held a news conference announcing his support.

He knows he moved too late in the political game for the tribes to get their recognition this year, as they had so wanted.

"I don't work like that," Webb said. "The key for me was to establish their continuous presence. Without that, we would be responding to the political emotions of the time."

What finally convinced him, he said, was finding that Virginia Indians were excluded from President Andrew Jackson's 1830 Indian Removal Order that sent eastern Indians to western territories to make room for more white settlers. Virginia Indians by that time had lost almost all of their land. They were no longer in the way.

Conflicted feelings
Many Virginia Indians now say that what they feel most strongly is conflicted. They are still without federal recognition. But people as far away as Russia and India now know the story of Jamestown from the Indians' point of view and of their survival all these centuries later, finally dispelling the notion that they'd all been "routed and dispersed" by 1700.

Steven Adkins, chief of the Chickahominy tribe, ticked off his legacies of the Jamestown 400 year. The Department of Historic Resources began putting up highway markers recognizing native history, including the settlers' massacre of an entire Paspahegh village. The state's Standards of Learning materials, which once mentioned only Pocahontas and taught erroneously that the Virginia Indians were nomadic, have been corrected. Indians organized teacher training seminars and Web sites.

They have traveled to England, to Pocahontas's grave, and met with members of Parliament. They have been consulted as advisers on every Jamestown event and in the archaeological excavation of the recently uncovered Powhatan capital city, Werowocomoco. Chief Richardson recently gave a talk at the Holocaust Memorial Museum about Plekker's "bureaucratic genocide." They have published a full-color Virginia Indian Heritage Trail for tourists. They have worked with local museums to more accurately reflect their history. They threw pots, strung beads and shared their traditional culture -- what little they have been able to piece together of it through a process of what they call "cultural reclamation" -- at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

"We have to remember that the story would not have reached as many ears were it not for this signal moment" of the commemoration, Adkins said.

Just after the Webb news conference this month, Wayne Adkins, a Chickahominy assistant chief, and Keith Smith, a member of the Nansemond tribe, walked to their car in the chill morning. Adkins wore a bolo tie with painted antler horn, felt cowboy hat and a colorful felt vest with Indian geometric designs. Smith wore an eagle bone whistle draped around his neck, a sign of honor in his tribe.

The two are pragmatic. If not 2007, then 2008. "Some people are saying that in 2008, they'll push us back in the corner again, and we'll never get recognition," Adkins said. "But if that happens, then it'll be our own fault."

Smith stopped short. "Look! Look!" he said. "A hawk. A broad-shouldered hawk."

The fierce-eyed bird had flown into a bare tree just ahead.

"That's a good sign!" Smith said.

He stopped to say good morning to the hawk, as a group of congressional staffers in seemingly identical blue suits and polished shoes walked by, snickering.

Last edited by NorthofAda; 11-23-2007 at 09:29 AM.. Reason: Fixed spacing.
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:17 AM   #2
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Are there any Virginia tribal members here?

What exactly can't you prove to become federally recognized?

In my opinion, "I really think it hurt your petition when the Virginia tribes did "powwow dancing" as self representation during the Jamestown 400 Commemorations.

Are there any songs and dances in existance that are representative of the Virginia tribes and still taking place?
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:22 AM   #3
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"The bill would enable their children to apply for scholarships and would open up federal funds for housing, health care and economic development."

It's all about the funding whome.....
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:31 AM   #4
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"The bill would enable their children to apply for scholarships and would open up federal funds for housing, health care and economic development."

It's all about the funding whome.....

KK,

What happened to "I'm an Indian in my heart, I don't have to prove anything to anyone and I don't need a piece of paper to prove that I am an Indian?"


Hmmmm?

Maybe you're right?
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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KK,

What happened to "I'm an Indian in my heart, I don't have to prove anything to anyone and I don't need a piece of paper to prove that I am an Indian?"


Hmmmm?

Maybe you're right?

aye, don't even get me started hehehehe (wavin)
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:49 AM   #6
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Facts: Tribes Petitioning Federal recognition

Okay here are facts of tribes petitioning to become federally recognized (for whatever reason):

Across the country, there are 562 federally recognized Indian tribes. Most were recognized through 19th century treaties, ratified by the Senate. But in 1978 the Department of the Interior established what is called the acknowledgment process to decide whether any more tribes, those without treaties, should have a government-to-government relationship.

Since then, 294 groups have sought federal recognition. Just 16 have been acknowledged; Congress gave recognition to another nine. Nineteen were refused.

Some recognition problems date back to the treaty days. In California, 18 treaties were never ratified by the Senate, leaving more than 100 tribes without the structure of a reservation. They were homeless, landless Indians.Today, California has 57 groups seeking federal recognition - the most of any state.

To be declared an Indian tribe, groups must meet seven conditions, including proof it has been a tribe continuously since 1900, existed as a distinct community and maintained political influence and authority over its members.

It's up to nine people - anthropologists, genealogists and historians - in the Interior Department's Office of Federal Acknowledgment to decide who is a tribe and who isn't.

The Mashpee Wampanoag are the latest tribe to be given federal recognition status on February, 15, 2007.
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by WhoMe View Post
Okay here are facts of tribes petitioning to become federally recognized (for whatever reason):

Across the country, there are 562 federally recognized Indian tribes. Most were recognized through 19th century treaties, ratified by the Senate. But in 1978 the Department of the Interior established what is called the acknowledgment process to decide whether any more tribes, those without treaties, should have a government-to-government relationship.

Since then, 294 groups have sought federal recognition. Just 16 have been acknowledged; Congress gave recognition to another nine. Nineteen were refused.

Some recognition problems date back to the treaty days. In California, 18 treaties were never ratified by the Senate, leaving more than 100 tribes without the structure of a reservation. They were homeless, landless Indians.Today, California has 57 groups seeking federal recognition - the most of any state.

To be declared an Indian tribe, groups must meet seven conditions, including proof it has been a tribe continuously since 1900, existed as a distinct community and maintained political influence and authority over its members.

It's up to nine people - anthropologists, genealogists and historians - in the Interior Department's Office of Federal Acknowledgment to decide who is a tribe and who isn't.

The Mashpee Wampanoag are the latest tribe to be given federal recognition status on February, 15, 2007.
the tribes in VA cant met the BIA requirements so thats why theyre trying for congressional recognition....apparently there was a law in VA in the 1900's that said you couldnt put "indian" on birth records,so there was no way to trace back or something along those lines...so the state of VA gave the tribes there state recognition because of this law....
i dont know about the other tribes but the monacan tribe should raise ane eybrow...im sure theres many legit monacans but their vice chief,george "whitewolf"branham is NOT Indian at all....he has changed tribal affiliations numerous times,claims to be a medicine man and spiritual advisor,claims to have been involved in every AIM activity since the BIA take over in 72...claims to have been appointed by clinton to a panel overseeing the indian freedom of religon act....george even testified in a case in VA involving non-registered "indians" having feathers...he pejuried himself on the stand,claiming to be Sioux and numerous other falsehoods...
if this one tribe gets congressional recognition,this fraud will then legally be indian and a member of a federally recognized tribe....
theres something very very wrong here.....
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:35 AM   #8
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if this one tribe gets congressional recognition,this fraud will then legally be indian and a member of a federally recognized tribe....
theres something very very wrong here.....

In what little I know about the Indian Community in DC, there is a vast network where everybody knows everybody or can get information through the moccasin telegraph.

I'm sure the BIA already has some information about this Whitewolf you speak about.

This could very well be one of the reasons they have denied the Monacan federal recognition.

I wonder if the 8 Virginia tribes tried to all get recognition under one blanket petition or are they petitioning individually?

Anyone?
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:08 PM   #9
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From what I understand is that these groups in Missouri that are going for state recognition are giving up aid and sovereignty rights, it started with no tobacco sales, then no tobacco sales and no casino's, I have a letter from the house of reps stating that this one group here is giving up: tobacco rights,casinos rights, land rights, taxes and now medical health care aid and education aid.....

When the VA groups did Congressional hearings, they were put on the spot about giving up sovereignty right for federal recognition, because this has been the playing field for the state recognition and now it has trickled into federal recognition game.
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:28 PM   #10
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In what little I know about the Indian Community in DC, there is a vast network where everybody knows everybody or can get information through the moccasin telegraph.

I'm sure the BIA already has some information about this Whitewolf you speak about.

This could very well be one of the reasons they have denied the Monacan federal recognition.

I wonder if the 8 Virginia tribes tried to all get recognition under one blanket petition or are they petitioning individually?

Anyone?
Whome,the petition is a blanket petition covering all the tribes...i wish the BIA would take action against whitewolf and others like him but i think thats a possible reason why the monacans are in fact seeking congressional and not BIA recognition...its easier to slip past unnoticed if you go the congressional route....
The tribes have said they will not try to open a casino or be involved in any gambling and the question has been raised...if they are in fact legit,why would they give up the right to gaming,a right thats accorded to any other federally recognized tribe....
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:29 PM   #11
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I found this list but I think they are missing some

Filing a Letter of Intent (FOI) is the first step to petition for federal recognition. This is nothing more than a simple letter stating you'd like to apply. Then the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research (BAR) in the BIA will send your group a "petition packet" containing information and sample forms to guide the research which your group will need to undertake.

You can view a copy of the regulations for USC 25 CFR 83 @
2005 CFR Title 25, Volume 1


VIRGINIA

061 United Rappahannock Tribe, Inc.
c/o Mr. Captain Nelson
United Rappahannock Cultural Center Office (804) 769-0260
HCR 1 Box 2 (804) 769-1508 evenings
Indian Neck, VA 23148
Contact person: G. Anne Richardson
Letter of Intent to Petition 11/16/1979

062 The Upper Mattaponi Tribe, Inc.
(formerly Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribal Association, Inc.)
c/o Mr. Edmond S. Adams Jr. (804) 746-2223 (home)
P.O. Box 183
King Williams, VA 23086
Contact person: Carmela L. Adams (804) 769-0833
Letter of Intent to Petition 11/26/1979

150 Ani-Stohini/Unami Nation
c/o Ms. Misty Dawn Thomas (540) 744-3640
P.O. Box 979 herbalist@TCIA.net
Fries, VA 24330
Alternate address: Rte. 1, box 335, Ivanhoe, VA 24350
Letter of Intent to Petition 07/08/1994

157 Mattaponi Tribe (Mattaponi Indian Reservation)
c/o Mr. Webster Custalow (804) 769-2245 (home)
1467 Mattapone Reservation Circle
West Point, VA 23181
Contact person: Carl Custalow, (804) 730-8101/(804) 769-4508 evenings
Letter of Intent to Petition 04/04/1995

161 Monacan Indian Tribe, Inc.
c/o Mr. Kenneth Branham (804) 929-1792
P.O. Box 1136 email: mnation538@aol.com
Madison Heights, VA 24572
Contact person: Ms. Karenne Wood, Chairman,
Monacan Federal Recognition Committee (540) 371-6670
Letter of Intent to Petition 07/11/1995

168 Chickahominy Indian Tribe
c/o Mr. Arthur Leonard Adkins (804) 829-2186
8200 Lott Cary Road
Providence Forge, VA 23140
Letter of Intent to Petition 03/19/1996
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:31 PM   #12
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From what I understand is that these groups in Missouri that are going for state recognition are giving up aid and sovereignty rights, it started with no tobacco sales, then no tobacco sales and no casino's, I have a letter from the house of reps stating that this one group here is giving up: tobacco rights,casinos rights, land rights, taxes and now medical health care aid and education aid.....

When the VA groups did Congressional hearings, they were put on the spot about giving up sovereignty right for federal recognition, because this has been the playing field for the state recognition and now it has trickled into federal recognition game.
if any of these groups are in fact legit,then why are they willing to give up rights and priviledges that are theirs if they become recognized?
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:33 PM   #13
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if any of these groups are in fact legit,then why are they willing to give up rights and priviledges that are theirs if they become recognized?


only to prove their point, the point, they don't have LOL....
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:38 PM   #14
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only to prove their point, the point, they don't have LOL....
Wow. Divide and conquer is alive and well in NDN country.

There have been times when all of our tribes have negotiated away rights, or passively let them go, in order to survive.

Isn't it odd that there aren't -any- recognized tribes in VA? Don't you think there is some system at work to keep recognition from happening. Do you, presumably a tribal member, really believe that there are no longer indians in VA?

We also all know that recognition isn't _all_ about the money... that is just the soundbite delivered by the washingtonpost, et al.

Words have power; stop sniping.

I would look at the VA tribes as an example of long term exposure -- look at what has happened here in order to paint a roadmap for your own tribe 400 years post invasion. Do what you can to heal. Vine recommends laughing.

mp (nansemond)
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:42 PM   #15
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Wow. Divide and conquer is alive and well in NDN country.

There have been times when all of our tribes have negotiated away rights, or passively let them go, in order to survive.

Isn't it odd that there aren't -any- recognized tribes in VA? Don't you think there is some system at work to keep recognition from happening. Do you, presumably a tribal member, really believe that there are no longer indians in VA?

We also all know that recognition isn't _all_ about the money... that is just the soundbite delivered by the washingtonpost, et al.

Words have power; stop sniping.

I would look at the VA tribes as an example of long term exposure -- look at what has happened here in order to paint a roadmap for your own tribe 400 years post invasion. Do what you can to heal. Vine recommends laughing.

mp (nansemond)
well since this was your first post, tell us abit about yourself, since it's all blank on your profile.......
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:34 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mp2 View Post
Wow. Divide and conquer is alive and well in NDN country.

There have been times when all of our tribes have negotiated away rights, or passively let them go, in order to survive.

Isn't it odd that there aren't -any- recognized tribes in VA? Don't you think there is some system at work to keep recognition from happening. Do you, presumably a tribal member, really believe that there are no longer indians in VA?

We also all know that recognition isn't _all_ about the money... that is just the soundbite delivered by the washingtonpost, et al.

Words have power; stop sniping.

I would look at the VA tribes as an example of long term exposure -- look at what has happened here in order to paint a roadmap for your own tribe 400 years post invasion. Do what you can to heal. Vine recommends laughing.

mp (nansemond)
i dont doubt there are real Indians in VA,but i know George Branham is NOT one of them....
and yes_recognition_is_about_the money_in_many_cases...are you saying that these tribes in VA dont want ANY money at all?
words do have power and thats why we speak up when something isnt right...it isnt sniping,its exposing....im sure the tribes in VA should be granted recognition but there needs to be a serious combing over of the rolls first or else fakes like George will become insta-indians...i dont think you can justify that at all...
heres a question to ponder...if birth records didnt say Indian then how do all these people REALLy know they are indian? You're talking about several generations that havent been identified as Indian....if they have family names then there would in fact be records listing those family members as Indian prior to the law...the names stay the same regardless,only the race was changed....this was also common in other states in the south(any one not white being listed as "colored") so why didnt the Indians in those states have the same problems when they tried to get recognition?
yup we divide the fakes from the real ones.....
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Last edited by Skillet; 11-23-2007 at 11:37 PM..
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