U.S. Official Backs Recognition for Virginia's Pamunkey Tribe

By: AP
By: AP

Jan. 17, 2014

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — Virginia's Pamunkey Indian Tribe says it has cleared a major hurdle in its bid for federal recognition.

The tribe announced Friday that the U.S. assistant secretary for Indian affairs has endorsed its petition for recognition, which would make members eligible for special benefits in education, housing and medical care. The recommendation comes more than three years after the tribe presented the Bureau of Indian Affairs thousands of pages of documents verifying its history.

Pamunkey Chief Kevin Brown says the preliminary determination illustrates the strength of the tribe's petition.

Mark Tilden is an attorney for the tribe. He says a 180-day comment period is the next step in a regulatory process that could take about a year.

About 50 of the tribe's 208 members live on a 1,200-acre reservation in Virginia.

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