Pamunkey tribe withstands challenge to federal recognition

Pamunkey Indian Jeff Brown gestures during a tour of a farm field overlooking the York River in Gloucester, Va., Monday, June 17, 2013. The field is known to many in Virginia as the place where Pocahontas interceded to rescue Capt. John Smith from her powerful father, Powhatan, who ruled a vast empire in 1607 in (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – A group challenging federal recognition of Virginia’s Pamunkey Indian tribe has lost its case before the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.

In July, the Pamunkey became the first Virginia tribe to receive federal recognition from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. In October, the recognition was put on hold when the group Stand Up for California issued a last-minute challenge to the decision.

Stand Up argued that the Pamunkey didn’t meet requirements for recognition. The group seeks to impose stricter guidelines for tribal recognition.

In its ruling, the Inidan appeals board said Stand Up had no standing to challenge the tribe’s new status.

The tribe, which claims Pocahontas as an ancestor, will now receive all the benefits and rights of federally recognized tribes and can now pursue casino gambling.

Information from: The Washington Post,

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