Six Virginia Indian tribes are fighting for federal recognition in order to receive aid from the federal government.
The Chickahominy, Eastern Chickohominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Nansemond, and Monacan Indian Nation have demonstrated continuity of community as noted by their state recognition, but are still seeking a federal recognition.
They’ve been waging the battle for years, and it’s separating some of the tribes from pieces of their own history.
The Smithsonian acknowledges that they hold Native American remains from every state in the country. Approximately 1,800 sets are from Virginia.
The Rappahannock tribe wants them removed from storage in government warehouses in Washington D.C. and moved back to their homeland for a proper burial.
However, that can’t happen until the tribes are federally recognized.
According to WUSA, the Smithsonian has already repatriated almost 6,000 remains to federally recognized tribes since 1989. A group of Virginia lawmakers is sponsoring a bill that would formally recognize six Virginia tribes. In years past, similar measures have passed the House, but never made it through the Senate.