The Pamunkey Tribe of southeastern King William County, Virginia, finally had their petition for Federal recognition approved! This is a big deal; Federal recognition means that the tribe is eligible for federal funding for housing, education, and health care.
Congratulations, Pamunkey Indian Tribe! Hopefully, the decision will pave the way for Virginia’s other tribes.
They are the first Virginia tribe to receive Federal recognition. This is largely because many of the requirements for Federal recognition rely heavily on historical documentation; there needs to be evidence, in vital records like birth and marriage certificates that the people seeking Federal recognition both consider themselves Indian and were descended from Indians. That documentation was all destroyed or disallowed in Virginia, largely by the efforts of a white supremacist and eugenicist named Walter Plecker, a man whose work inspired similar policies in Nazi Germany.