CHP’s Tribal Nation Clients Celebrate State Budget Proposals for Ancestral Lands and Cultural Sites

Cultural Heritage Partners (CHP), legal and policy counsel to six federally recognized Tribal Nations in Virginia, joined Governor Ralph Northam, tribal chiefs, and state officials on Capitol Square on December 15, 2021, to celebrate two bold state budget proposals.

Governor Ralph Northam

The governor is proposing $12 million to enable Tribal Nations, whose lands were seized, to reacquire ancestral lands on the private market. Tribes with a land base become eligible for federal funding for programs that range from heritage preservation to housing to economic development. Land also provides a pathway to economic sovereignty, by enabling Tribes to build sustainable economies for their people and the surrounding communities. Many of the Tribal Nations in Virginia are developing ventures in eco- and heritage tourism.

Governor Northam is also proposing $10 million to conserve historic sites of people of color, as part of his ongoing efforts to reveal a more inclusive and accurate picture of Virginia’s history. The Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Conservation (BIPOC) Fund will be the first fund in Virginia history dedicated to conserving, rehabilitating, and interpreting the historic landmarks, like schools, churches, cemeteries, burial sites, sacred Tribal sites, and other historic places important to people of color.

There are seven federally recognized Tribal Nations located in Virginia. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe received federal recognition in 2015. Six tribes received federal recognition in 2018 through the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017: the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe- Eastern Division, the Monacan Indian Nation, the Nansemond Indian Nation, the Rappahannock Tribe, and the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe.