Main Page - Latest News

online casino

Congressional Black Caucus goes to war with “racist” Indian tribe

Jealousy between racial minorities over government benefits seems to be increasing, despite claims of a “post-racial age.” The Congressional Black Caucus [CBC] is demanding that Obama refuse to recognize an Indian tribe in Virginia.

The Department of the Interior proposed recognizing the Pamunkey tribe, as an official Indian tribe. Federal recognition would make them eligible for a multitude of special benefits. The move suggests that the tribe is seeking to build a Casino and hired lobbyists to get Federal recognition.

The  CBC is demanding that Obama not give the tribe Federal recognition, claiming the tribe is “racist.” The CBC appears to be increasingly resentful of the benefits received by other racial minorities.

The Pamunkey tribe has 200 members and the tribe owns 1,200 acres of land.

Recently the Cherokee tribe fought a Federal law suit to expel blacks, who had no actual Cherokee ancestry, from membership roles. After the Civil War, the Federal Government ordered the Cherokee to give membership to former slaves. Thousands of black had used post-Civil War registries to join the Cherokee tribe and receive access to American Indian benefits.


In January, the Interior Department proposed recognizing the Pamunkey tribe in southeast Virginia, which would make members eligible for special benefits in education, housing and medical care — and allow the tribe to pursue a casino. A decision on recognition, which would be the first for a Virginia tribe, is due by March 30.

The Congressional Black Caucus members urged Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Attorney General Eric Holder to hold off until the Justice Department investigates any discriminatory practices by the tribe. Neither department has responded to the request, made in a Sept. 23 letter, according to a spokeswoman for Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, who signed the letter.

The letter cited a report by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs that quoted tribal law:  “No member of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe shall intermarry with anny (sic) Nation except White or Indian under penalty of forfeiting their rights in Town.”

The bureau said there was no indication the tribe had changed its ban, but Pamunkey Chief Kevin Brown responded in a letter to the CBC that the ban has been repealed. He said in an interview that the change was made in 2012.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs said that the significant number of Pamunkey-Pamunkey marriages and efforts to encourage them helped satisfy a criterion for federal recognition: that a predominant portion of the group comprises a distinct community and has existed as one from historical times to the present.

The black lawmakers called the government findings disturbing. “The BIA seems to justify the discrimination and surprisingly cites this as a reason” to recognize the tribe, their letter said.

In addition to Thompson, the letter was signed by 10 other Democrats.