- Report Published -
|Report Document No. 64|
PUBLICATION YEAR 2009
|Annual Executive Summary on the Interim Activity and Work of the Virginia Council on Indians|
|Virginia Council on Indians|
During 2008, the Virginia Council on Indians held eight business meetings, in January, February, April, May, June, August, September, and October. In addition, the VCI Recognition Committee, an ad-hoc committee considering the petition for state recognition of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, met four times, in February, March, April and May. The VCI Advisory Committee met four times, in June, July, November and December.
II. Membership and Membership Changes
As of July 1, 2007, the Code of Virginia section 2.2-2628 was amended to specify the voting Council members as the chiefs of all the state-recognized tribes or their designated delegates, plus two gubernatorial-appointed Indian-at-large members, each of whom is required to be enrolled in a recognized Indian tribe.
At the end of the calendar year 2008, VCI members included Pamunkey delegate Chief Emeritus William Miles (elected Chair in 2007 and again in July 2008); Nansemond delegate Assistant Chief Earl Bass (elected Vice-Chair in 2007 and again in 2008); Upper Mattaponi Chief Ken Adams; Rappahannock Chief Anne Richardson; Chickahominy Chief Stephen Adkins (Chickahominy alternates are delegates Reggie Stewart and Assistant Chief Wayne Adkins); Mattaponi Chief Carl Custalow; Chickahominy Eastern Division delegate Joanne Howard; Monacan delegate Sharon Bryant; Sherry Munford (Sappony, Indian-at-large); and Mitchell Bush (Onondaga, Indian-at-large). The chiefs of the Monacan (Kenneth Branham), Pamunkey (Kevin Brown), Nansemond (Barry Bass) and Eastern Chickahominy (Gene Adkins) tribes are officially considered members but have designated permanent delegates to the Council.
III. Legislative Action
During the 2008 General Assembly, the Virginia Council on Indians did not submit any legislation for consideration or take a position on any proposed legislation, although the input of the Council members or staff was requested on occasion. The Virginia Council on Indians was not directly affected by any legislative action in 2008.
IV. State Recognition Activity
At the January VCI business meeting, the Chair appointed new members to the ad hoc recognition committee considering the petition of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, including Assistant Chief Earl Bass, Chief Anne Richardson, Arlene Milner of the Upper Mattaponi, and Helen Rountree. Mitchell Bush continued as a member of the committee. The members of the committee were ratified by the Council at the January VCI meeting. Consideration of the petition for state recognition by the Nottoway Tribe of Virginia, which was submitted in October 2006, continued, with meetings of the recognition committee being held in February, March, April and May of 2008.
Letters of concern or public comment were submitted by the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, their representatives, or a citizen concerned about the recognition process, in February at the recognition committee meeting, in March at the VCI business meeting, in May at the VCI business meeting, and in August at the VCI business meeting. The Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia also submitted suggested changes to the tribal recognition criteria document at the VCI business meeting in August. Public comments by a member or former member of the recognition committee were made at the VCI business meetings in April and May. All public comments and letters of concern submitted to the VCI in writing were appended to the minutes for the appropriate meetings.
By August 2008, all the recognition criteria had been voted on by the recognition committee during their meetings, and at the August VCI business meeting, the VCI Chair asked that the recognition committee compile a written report with a summary of the votes on each criteria along with the rationale of the committee members for their votes, to be presented at the VCI business meeting in January 2009. The remainder of the recognition procedure to be followed subsequently is outlined in the VCI’s Tribal Recognition Criteria document which is available on the VCI website at http://indians.vipnet.org/resources/tribalRecognitionCriteria.pdf.
V. VCI Annual Conference
The Virginia Council on Indians did not hold an annual conference during the 2008 calendar year, due to lack of preparation time and resources. A conference is being planned for March of the calendar year 2009, which will be one day instead of the traditional two days due to Council budget constraints.
VI. Advisory Committee to the VCI
As of July 1, 2007, the Code of Virginia specifies that the Council shall appoint an Advisory Committee made up of members of the Virginia tribes and descendent Indian communities, and may assign duties to that Committee.
At the March business meeting of the VCI, the members ratified the appointments of Reggie Stewart (Chickahominy), Sidney Turner (Nottoway Tribe of Virginia), Arlene Giffel (Upper Mattaponi), Pam Talbott (Monacan), Gerald Epps (Sappony) and Jerry Fortune (Rappahannock) to the VCI Advisory Committee. Sidney Turner was named Chair by the Committee members. The first duty requested by the VCI of the Advisory Committee was to plan a VCI conference for 2009. The Advisory Committee met four times during the year 2008, working on budget for the conference and planning a program.
VII. Historic Highway Marker Program
The Virginia Council on Indians continued in its support of and contributions to the creation of historic highway markers under a program sponsored by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. In 2008, marker dedication ceremonies or installations took place for markers on the topics of the Treaty of 1646 and the 1623 poisoning of Indians at a peace meeting, both in King William County. A marker submitted by the Virginia Indian Heritage Program on the Great Warrior road was also dedicated in Winchester. In addition, history highway markers were approved in 2008 by the Board of Historic Resources on the topics of the Accomack Indians (Northampton County), the Chesapeake Indians (Virginia Beach), the Monacan town of Mowhemcho (Powhatan County), the werowansqua or female Appamattuck chief Opposunoquonuske (Chesterfield), the town of Orapax (New Kent County), and the Paspahegh chief Wowinchapuncke (James City County).
VIII. Other Activities
The Council is required by Code to report on findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly biennially, in November of odd-numbered years. Although the VCI did not make a report in 2008, a request was sent to the Governor’s office for a procedure for following up on the Council’s recommendations. The procedure has not yet been established.
In February 2008, the VCI provided financial support to Virginia Tech for the Virginia Indian Nations Summit on Higher Education. In June 2008, the Council provided financial support to the Virginia Indian Heritage Program for enhancement and transportation of the Beyond Jamestown and Family Portraits exhibits. The Council sent Mitchell Bush as representative to the Governor’s Indian Interstate Conference mid-year meeting in February, but did not send a representative to the October GIIC meeting due to budget constraints. The Council also sent a letter in support of the continued input of Virginia tribes into the interpretive content of the National Park Service’s Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The VCI was also asked to review and make recommendations on the content of a proposed elementary school textbook.
The Council members and staff continued to advocate for education of the general public regarding the Virginia Indians, through activities such as promoting tribal events that increased public knowledge and awareness of our tribal communities, including activities and events of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program; public speaking; presentations for schools and organizations; consulting with state agencies and local governments; and presenting accurate representations of Virginia Indian history.