US Senate passes bill giving recognition to 6 Virginia tribes

Stock image taken from WRIC archives.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed a bill granting federal recognition to six American Indian tribes in Virginia, a move that makes the tribes eligible for federal money for education, housing and health care.

The bill will now be sent to the president’s desk. It gives the Rappahannock, Monacan, Nansemond, Upper Mattaponi, Chickahominy and Eastern Chickahominy tribes a status they have sought for two decades. Many of the members of the tribes are descendants of Pocahontas’ Virginia Powhatan tribe.

U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia lobbied for the bill for years. The tribes had received official recognition from Virginia, but not from the federal government.

The bill passed by unanimous consent Thursday.

The tribes were among the first to greet English settlers when they arrived in Jamestown in 1607.

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