RD1 - Annual Executive Summary on the Interim Activity and Work of the Virginia Council on Indians

    Executive Summary:
    I. Meetings

    During 2010, the Virginia Council on Indians held business meetings in January, May, and June at the call of the Acting Chair, Frank Adams. No business was conducted because there was no quorum at any meeting, but announcements and member comments were made. At the January meeting, the Acting Chair announced that 2010-2011 Chair Earl Bass had resigned his position as Chair, and the Vice Chair had assumed the role of Acting Chair until such time as elections could occur.

    In the month of June, the Acting Chair was replaced as his tribe’s VCI member by the chief of his tribe, which left the VCI with no presiding officers. Meetings were scheduled in July and August at the request of a few members, but as there was no quorum and no legal presiding officer, no business could be conducted. Thereafter, on the advice of legal counsel, no further meetings were scheduled, as the Code of Virginia (2.2-2628) states that the VCI meets on the call of the Chair or at the request of a quorum of the members.

    II. State Recognition Activity

    In December 2009, the VCI had reported to the General Assembly, as required by the Code of Virginia (2.2-2629), its recommendation that the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia did not meet the criteria for state recognition. During the 2010 session, the Virginia General Assembly recognized by resolution the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, as well as the Patawomeck Tribe, and the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe of Southampton County, Virginia. The latter two tribes had not submitted petitions through the petitioning process as outlined in the VCI’s Tribal Recognition Criteria document.

    III. 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, and an ex-officio non-voting member appointed by the Governor from his senior staff.

    Accordingly, as a result of three additional tribes being recognized by the General Assembly during the 2010 session, the chiefs of those tribes (or their designated delegates) became members of the Council. At the end of the calendar year 2010, VCI members were Chickahominy Chief Stephen Adkins (Chickahominy designated alternates are Reggie Stewart and Assistant Chief Wayne Adkins); Rappahannock Chief Anne Richardson (designated Rappahannock alternate is Reeva Tilley); Upper Mattaponi Chief Ken Adams; Pamunkey Acting Chief Robert Gray; Mattaponi Chief Carl Custalow; Nansemond delegate Assistant Chief Earl Bass; Chickahominy Eastern Division delegate Joanne Howard; Monacan delegate Sharon Bryant; Nottoway of Virginia Chief Lynette Allston; Patawomeck delegate MaryAnn Berry; Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Chief Walt Brown; and Mitchell Bush (Onondaga, Indian-at-large). The chiefs of the Monacan (Kenneth Branham), Upper Mattaponi (Kenneth Adams), Nansemond (Barry Bass), Eastern Chickahominy (Gene Adkins), and Patawomeck (Robert Green) tribes are officially considered members but have designated permanent delegates to the Council. One Indian-at-large membership has been open since July 1, 2010. The Governor’s senior staff ex-officio member was Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech, appointed to the Council during the 2010 calendar year.

    IV. Legislative Action

    During the 2010 General Assembly, the Virginia Council on Indians did not request any legislation for consideration by the General Assembly. Other than the resolutions recognizing the additional tribes, the Virginia Council on Indians was not directly affected by any legislative action in 2009.

    V. Historic Highway Marker Program

    The Virginia Council on Indians has supported and contributed to the creation of historic highway markers under a program sponsored by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, through which DHR sponsors markers on diversity topics which include Virginia Indians, African Americans and women. Because of budget reductions in the Virginia Department of Transportation, which erects the markers, several Virginia Indian highway markers approved by the Council and by the Board of Historic Resources in 2008 and 2009 have yet to be cast or erected. Therefore there were no additional highway marker dedications in 2010. However, in December the Board of Historic Resources approved a marker on the Indian town of Opiscopank, which was mapped on the Rappahannock River by Captain John Smith. Other previously backlogged highway markers on Virginia Indian topics were sent to be cast in the late months of 2010. The Council staff has been a member of the Department of Historic Resources Highway Marker Editorial Board for several years and continues in that role.

    VI. Other activities

    The Council members and staff continued to advocate for education of the general public regarding the Virginia Indians through activities such as promoting tribal and other events that increased public knowledge and awareness of Virginia’s tribal communities. These included activities and events of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program; public speaking opportunities; presentations for schools and organizations; and tribally sponsored events such as powwows, festivals and other celebrations of heritage. The Council staff provided administrative support for the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission, and Virginia tribal leaders and tribal members participated as members of the Commemorative Commission or its message subcommittee, and provided public comment to the Commission.

    Council members and staff also served regularly on advisory boards and committees for federal and state agencies as well as non-government organizations and educational institutions. VCI members and staff provided consultation to federal agencies, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Department of Defense; state agencies, including the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Historic Resources, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation; and other organizations on accurate representations of Virginia Indian history and culture. The Council office also provided input regarding the protection of American Indian cultural resources on projects funded or permitted by federal agencies throughout the Commonwealth.