US official backs recognition for Virginia tribe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The tribe announced Friday that the U.S. assistant secretary for Indian affairs has endorsed its petition for recognition, which would make members eligible for special benefits in education, housing and medical care. The recommendation comes more than three years after the tribe presented the Bureau of Indian Affairs thousands of pages of documents verifying its history.

Pamunkey Chief Kevin Brown says the preliminary determination illustrates the strength of the tribe's petition.

Mark Tilden is an attorney for the tribe. He says a 180-day comment period is the next step in a regulatory process that could take about a year.

About 50 of the tribe's 208 members live on a 1,200-acre reservation in Virginia.


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