Culpeper Star-Exponent: Federal recognition sought for Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia

CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT

Federal recognition is being sought for the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia, granted state recognition in 2010 by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

More than 2,600 members are enrolled in the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia — and approximately 70 percent of these members live in Stafford County, according to a Sept. 18 release from Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, representative for that area. In 2010, the Commonwealth of Virginia granted state recognition to the Tribe. Federal recognition would make the tribe eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the release stated.

Spanberger’s “Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia Federal Recognition Act” intends to create new opportunities for members to apply for grants for education programs, job creation, and healthcare. U.S. Representatives Jen Kiggans (R-2nd) and Jennifer Wexton (D-10th) are co-sponsors.

“In Congress, I represent nearly 2,000 members of the Patawomeck Tribe — and their long history, their rich traditions, and their centuries of contributions to Virginia deserve respect and recognition. However, a lack of recognition by the federal government has left the Tribe unable to access new resources for economic development, healthcare, and education in our communities,” said Spanberger. “The federal government is long overdue to acknowledge what the Commonwealth of Virginia and the members of the Patawomeck Tribe themselves already know to be true. I want to thank the leadership and Members of the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia for their ongoing efforts to secure this recognition, and I’m honored to lead this legislation on their behalf in the U.S. House.”

“More than a decade ago, the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia worked tirelessly to secure official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, said Chief Charles “Bootsie” Bullock, Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia.

“But our community has always been here, and we have been a strong part of the fabric of our Virginia home. We are not only descendants of many centuries of our ancestors, but today we are neighbors, colleagues, friends, and proud Americans — and our heritage deserves to be recognized by the federal government like other Indigenous communities,” he said.

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