Virginia’s Indian Tribes Begin to Receive Federal Recognition

Later this year the United States government may officially acknowledge the existence of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe of King William County. They would be the first Virginia tribe to be federally recognized. This gesture has been a long time coming, especially since Pamunkeys and their ancestors have inhabited Tsenacomoco (what we call Virginia today) for at least 10,000 years, and were among the first people to greet Europeans who stepped off seagoing vessels. The Pamunkeys’ possible recognition has also raised hope among Virginia’s 10 other state-recognized tribes that they, too, might be acknowledged by the government to which they’ve been loyal for so many years. Here are the state-recognized Indian tribes in Hampton Roads. 

Cheroenhaka Nottoway

Home: Southampton County

Enrollment: 272

Chief: Walt Brown



Home: Charles City County

Enrollment: 840

Chief: Stephen Adkins


Eastern Chickahominy

Home: New Kent County

Enrollment: 164

Chief: Gene Adkins



Home: King William County (Mattaponi Reservation)

Enrollment: 450

Chief: Carl Custalow



Home: Suffolk

Enrollment: 200

Chief: Barry Bass

Read more about them here.



Home: Capron

Enrollment: 120

Chief: Lynette Allston


Upper Mattaponi

Home: King William County

Enrollment: 575

Chief: Ken Adams


Read about the Nansemond Indian Tribe here.


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