WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2015, a bill reintroduced in February by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, cleared its first procedural hurdle with passage out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The legislation would grant federal recognition of six Virginia 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. The legislation will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
“With committee approval of this legislation to grant federal recognition to six Virginia tribes, we are one step closer to rectifying this grave injustice,” said Kaine, who has fought for federal recognition of the tribes since he was Lieutenant Governor. “We won’t give up until the tribes receive the recognition they deserve and have fought so hard to achieve.”
“This recognition is well-earned and long overdue,” said Warner. “This is an issue I have cared about deeply since serving as Virginia governor, and I will keep working with Senator Kaine and our House colleagues to get this bill passed and ensure that Virginia’s tribes finally get the federal recognition they deserve.”
Congressman Robert Wittman (R-01) has introduced companion legislation to the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2015 in the House. Kaine and Warner introduced an earlier version of the bill in the last Congress where it was also passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee but faced opposition on the Senate floor from members who oppose Congressional recognition of Indian tribes.