TRIBAL GOVERNMENT WATCH
Pamunkey Indian Tribe attains U.S. Federal Acknowledgement
After a decades’ long process, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe received notice July 2,
2015 that the United States acknowledges the Pamunkey Indian Tribe as an Indian
tribe within the meaning of Federal law. “The Native American Rights Fund has
had the distinct honor and privilege of representing the Pamunkey people since
the mid-1970s. We applaud Assistant Secretary Washburn and OFA Director Fleming
for their careful review and decision” said NARF’s Executive Director, John
Echohawk. Along with the tribe’s legal co-counsel, Mark Tilden of Tilden McCoy +
Dilweg LLP, NARF would like to congratulate the Pamunkey Indian Tribe on today’s
victory! Here is the Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s official press release.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY – INDIAN AFFAIRS ACKNOWLEDGES THE PAMUNKEY INDIAN TRIBE
July 2, 2015
Today, after years of research and participation in the federal acknowledgment
regulatory process, the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs (AS-IA), U.S.
Department of the Interior published a Final Determination for Federal
Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe, located on the Pamunkey Homeland in Virginia, has a
rich and well-documented history. In the course of collecting evidence for the
federal acknowledgment petition, researchers compiled thousands of documents
recording the tribe’s existence and enduring presence.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe played a vital role in the Europeans’ first contact
with the New World. Documents have been preserved in the archives of the United
States and England that clearly show the continuous existence of the Pamunkey
Indian Tribe as an independent sovereign since the first visit of Captain John
Smith in 1607, when the English settled Jamestown. The Pamunkey still honor the
treaty relationship forged between the tribe and Great Britain in 1646, and
reasserted through the Treaty of Middle Plantation in 1677. One expression of
the perseverance of this treaty relationship, performed as recently as November
2014, is the annual tribute ceremony where deer and other wild game are
presented to the Governor of Virginia by the Pamunkey Chief and members of the
Tribal Council in Richmond, Virginia. The continuity of the tribe’s community
and political authority has helped the tribe preserve its cultural traditions
and a tight-knit community. Federal acknowledgment will serve to strengthen
these bonds for the future.
For any questions, please contact Robert Gray, Assistant Chief, Pamunkey Indian
Tribe, 804.339.1629 or the tribe’s legal counsel: Mark C. Tilden, Tilden McCoy +
Dilweg LLP at firstname.lastname@example.org, 303.818.0310 or 2500 30th Street, Suite
207, Boulder, Colorado 80301 or David Gover, Native American Rights Fund at
email@example.com, 303.447.8760 or 1506 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80302.
CO Office (main) 303-447-8760
DC Office 202-785-4166