EDITORIAL: Virginia’s tribe get a seat at the table

It seems like a small thing to grant. After a 414-year land grab, the Commonwealth of Virginia is giving federally recognized tribes some say-so in what happens on land that was taken from them.

Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam signed an order that will at last give Native Americans some control of that land. The Chickahominy, Chickahominy-Easter Division, Monacan, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Rappahannock and Upper Mattaponi will have government-to-government consultation when environmental, cultural and historic issues involving the tribes are at stake.

About a dozen states have similar requirements, but Virginia is going further than any of them in this effort. Specifically, the tribes can tell the state which kinds of permits should not be issued without the tribe’s consent.

Rappahannock Tribe Chief Anne Richardson looks at Fones Cliffs.
(Pamela A. D’Angelo for The Free Lance–Star)


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