Today, the "Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2013," a bill introduced by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, was passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The legislation would grant federal recognition of six Virginia Indian tribes: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond. These tribes have received official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but have not received federal recognition. In October 2013, Kaine made a passionate case for passage of the legislation before the Indian Affairs Committee. The legislation will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
The legislation was introduced by Senators Warner and Jim Webb in 2009. The House companion, introduced by Congressman Jim Moran, has received strong bipartisan support from many members of the Virginia delegation. Kaine also testified on the tribes' behalf before the committee as Governor of Virginia in 2008.
"Federal recognition of the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Monacan, Nansemond, Rappahannock and Upper Mattaponi tribes of Virginia is long overdue," Sen. Warner said "Members of our Virginia Indian tribes are both part of the history of the Commonwealth and valued members of our present and should be recognized as such. Committee passage of this legislation is an important step forward and I remain committed to turning this bill into law ."
"Committee passage of this legislation is a critical step toward granting these six Virginia tribes the recognition they deserve," said Kaine. "These tribes are an integral part of Virginia's history and identity and it is both troubling and tragic that they have never been recognized by the United States, even when more than 500 other Indian tribes have been granted recognition. We will continue fighting for final passage of this legislation, so we can finally rectify this injustice."