By Scott McKie B.P.
One Feather staff
The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and six state-recognized tribes in Virginia are all one step closer to receiving federal recognition as an American Indian tribe. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved the Lumbee Bill (S.1735) and the Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2009 (S.1178) that would grant federal acknowledgment to six state-recognized tribes in Virginia including: the Chickahominy Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock Tribe, the Monacan Tribe, and the Nansemond Tribe.
Ricky Burnett, Lumbee tribal speaker, was quoted in The Fayetteville Observer as saying, “It’s a great step forward. This is the farthest we’ve gotten in some time.”
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has consistently fought against Lumbee recognition. In March, Principal Chief Michell Hicks testified against the bill at a House hearing. “The House of Representatives should not pass a bill that allows persons of questionable at best Indian ancestry to be acknowledged as an Indian tribe.”
Both bills passed the House in June.
In other recognition news, the House Natural Resources Committee is set to hold a hearing on HR 3690 (Indian Tribal Federal Recognition Administrative Procedures Act) on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 10am in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, DC.
Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D-WV), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, commented in March, “I can assure you that the Committee will continue to press forward on tribal Congressional recognition when the circumstances indicate that it is necessary to do so. And we will also continue to work to reform the Federal Acknowledgment Process that has long been considered broken by all involved in the process, including Congress.”