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Recognition of the tribes

The grounds of Werowocomoco in Gloucester County have seen a great deal of history dating back at least 800 years, centuries before the first Europeans made initial contact with the local indigenous population in 1607.

Last Wednesday one more historic event was added to that rich lineage, as seven Virginia native tribes were formally recognized by the federal government as sovereign nations.

The recognition bill, which was introduced by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Montross), had bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Trump on Jan. 29. Of the seven tribes present, the Pamunkey had already been federally recognized in 2016, but joined the other native tribes in celebrating this historic day.

Tribes present alongside the Pamunkey were the Chickahominy, Chickahominy Eastern Division, Monacan, Nansemond, Rappahannock and Upper Mattaponi.

Representatives from the federal government joined the chiefs in an exchange of remarks and gifts, including Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zi...

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