Va. Native American Tribe Seek Federal Recognition

October 25, 2010

Pamunkey leaders are asking for federal recognition that, if granted, could clear the way for members of the American Indian tribe to receive government benefits in education, housing and medical care.

Pamunkey chief Robert Gray and other tribal leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., this month to hand over more than 1,000 documents to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the documents attest to the tribe's history as a functioning community and government since 1789, the year the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

Gray says the documents actually go back to the 1600s. They show the tribe assisting colonists during the Revolutionary War and the Union during the Civil War.

Six other Virginia tribes are seeking federal recognition through an act of Congress.

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