Dozens gather to protest planned use of sacred Monacan land

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LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WCAV) — Dozens of people turned out Tuesday morning in Louisa County to protest proposed construction along the James River. Controversy surrounds the construction as protesters say the proposed site infringes on a historic Native American tribal site.

The Monacan Tribe says the planned water intake and pump station proposed by the James River Water Authority would pass through Rassawek, the capital of the Monacan Indian Nation.

The controversy stems from a proposed development at Zion Crossroads that would build more than 1,000 new homes. Members of the Monacan nation say the site in question was first recorded by Captain John Smith in 1612.

Kenneth Branham, Chief of the Monacan Tribe, says they're not opposed to the overall project, but instead, when dealing with such sacred land including a burial ground, other locations must be used.

"I know it's money, but that should not be the number one priority here," he said. "If they go through that site, we've lost it forever. Money, you can lose it and gain it back and the pipes they put in the ground, they can take it out."

Louisa County has been waiting since 2016 for the required permits to actually take water out of the James River.

If the correct permits do end up getting issued, those opposed fully intend on taking this matter to court.

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