This bill was first introduced in Congress in 2009, with the last action in December, 2009. In February 2011, The VA senators re-introduced the bill which would grant Federal Recognition for 5 Tribes in Virginia. This includes the Chickahominy, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi, Nansemond and Monacan.

The indigenous people of what is now VA have endured diseases, massacres, servitude and slavery, land grabs, and "documentational genocide." In the early 20th century their birth certificates were changed in an attempt to remove all evidence of "Indians" from the Commonwealth. And yet they remain, with many still living close to or on their traditional lands.

I wonder if Federal Recognition will benefit them overall. The benefits can be enticing, healthcare, tuition, etc. But these are not Free. Land issues, dealing with the BIA, an entitlement mindset among the People are some of the pitfalls and problems. I was involved in the State Recognition process for my Tribe and question if receiving Federal Recognition is actually worth the long-term investment of time and funds.

Is it really worth it? Please share your thoughts.

Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
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