[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 15 (Thursday, January 23, 2014)]
[Pages 3860-3862]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-01349]



Bureau of Indian Affairs


Proposed Finding for Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey 
Indian Tribe

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Finding.


SUMMARY: The Department of the Interior (Department) gives notice that 
the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs (AS-IA) proposes to determine 
that the petitioner known as the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (Petitioner 
323), 331 Pocket Road, King William, VA 23086, c/o Mr. Kevin 
M. Brown, is an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law. This 
notice is based on a proposed finding (PF) that the petitioner 
satisfies the seven mandatory criteria for acknowledgment set forth in 
the applicable regulations, and thus, meets the requirements for a 
government-to-government relationship with the United States.

DATES: Comments on this PF are due on or before July 22, 2014. The 
petitioner then has until September 22, 2014 to respond to those 
comments. The Department must receive requests for a formal, on-the-
record technical assistance meeting by February 20, 2014. See the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice for more information 
about these dates.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the PF and/or requests for a copy of the report 
of the summary evaluation of the evidence should be addressed to the 
Office of the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs, Attention: Office of 
Federal Acknowledgment, 1951 Constitution Avenue NW., Mail Stop 34B-
SIB, Washington, DC 20240. Interested and informed parties who make 
submissions to the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs (AS-IA) must 
also provide copies of their comments to the petitioner at Pamunkey 
Indian Tribe, c/o Mr. Kevin M. Brown, 331 Pocket Road, King William, VA 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: R. Lee Fleming, Director, Office of 
Federal Acknowledgment, (202) 513-7650.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under 25 CFR 83.10(h), the Department gives 
notice the AS-IA proposes to determine that the Pamunkey Indian Tribe 
is an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law. This notice is 
based on a determination that the petitioner satisfies all seven 
mandatory criteria set forth in part 83 of 25 CFR 83(a) through

[[Page 3861]]

(g), and thus meets the requirements for a government-to-government 
relationship with the United States.
    The Department publishes this notice in the exercise of authority 
that the Secretary of the Interior delegated to the AS-IA by 209 DM 8.
    A group known as the Pamunkey Indian Tribe submitted a letter of 
intent to petition for Federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe to the 
AS-IA. The Department received the letter of intent on June 29, 2009. 
The Department designated this group as Petitioner 323. The 
Pamunkey petitioner submitted its first documentation that included a 
narrative as well as some documents outlined in the petitioner's 
narrative. The Department received this material on October 14, 2010, 
and received an additional petition submission on December 7, 2011. The 
group claimed to descend from the historical Pamunkey Indian tribe of 
the Commonwealth of Virginia. The historical Pamunkey Indian tribe 
occupied a land base in King William County, VA, formally defined 
during the Colonial Era in the 1600s and shown as ``Indian Town'' on a 
1770 map, which still exists today as a state reservation in the same 
    The Department conducted an initial review of the petition, 
determined the petitioner was ready for consideration and placed the 
Pamunkey petitioner on the ``ready, waiting for active consideration 
list'' on January 3, 2012. In response to the petitioner's request for 
expedited processing on July 5, 2011, the Department began a review for 
expedited processing on January 16, 2012, and recommended a waiver of 
the priority provisions of the regulations for the Pamunkey petitioner. 
On July 20, 2012, the Acting AS-IA approved the waiver under the May 
23, 2008, directive (73 FR 30147) and moved the petitioner to the top 
of the ready list. Thereafter, OFA received three additional petition 
submissions from the Pamunkey petitioner on March 28, April 12, and 
July 11, 2012.
    The Department placed the Pamunkey petitioner on active 
consideration for the PF on August 21, 2012, and received a submission 
of additional petitioner documents from the group during the 60 days 
following (on October 19, 2012), as allowed by the directive of March 
31, 2005 (70 FR 16513). The Department will consider any additional 
material that it received after the submission deadline of October 21, 
2012, for the final determination (FD), pursuant to that 2005 
    The acknowledgment process is based on the regulations at 25 CFR 
part 83. Under these regulations, the petitioner has the burden to 
present evidence that it meets the seven mandatory criteria in section 
83.7. The PF finds that the Pamunkey petitioner satisfies all seven 
mandatory criteria for acknowledgment: 83.7(a), 83.7(b), 83.7(c), 
83.7(d), 83.7(e), 83.7(f), and 83.7(g).
    If ``substantial evidence'' demonstrates the petitioner had 
``unambiguous'' previous Federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe, 
then the requirements of some of the acknowledgment criteria in section 
83.7 are modified by the provisions of section 83.8(d). The Pamunkey 
petitioner has not claimed, and the Department has not located 
evidence, that the Federal Government took any action clearly premised 
on identification of the petitioner as a tribal political entity and 
recognition of a relationship between that entity and the United 
States. Therefore, the Department did not evaluate the petitioner under 
25 CFR 83.8.
    Criterion 83.7(a) requires that external observers have identified 
the petitioner as an American Indian entity on a substantially 
continuous basis since 1900. External observers consistently identified 
the petitioning group during these years as the ``Pamunkey Indian 
Tribe,'' or as a ``tribe,'' a ``band,'' a ``group,'' or a 
``settlement'' of Pamunkey Indians. They usually associated the 
identified group with a state Indian reservation in Virginia. As such 
identifications of the petitioning group were made in almost all of the 
years since 1900, the petitioner meets criterion 83.7(a).
    Criterion 83.7(b) requires that a predominant portion of the 
petitioning group has comprised a distinct community since historical 
times. The evidence in the record demonstrates that a predominant 
portion of the Pamunkey petitioner has maintained interaction and 
significant social relationships through history. From 1789 until 1899, 
the petitioner satisfies the requirements with a combination of 
evidence under criterion 83.7(b)(1). Such evidence includes the group's 
concern about maintaining the exclusivity of the settlement, its 
assertion of a collective Indian identity that lasts for more than 50 
years, and members joining the Colosse Baptist Church as a group. 
Additional evidence includes the knowledge of people across kin groups, 
communication and interaction among members, and significant rates of 
marriage within the group. Combined, this evidence meets criterion 
83.7(b) before 1900. From 1900 until the present, the petitioner 
satisfies the requirements via the ``cross-over'' provision of 
criterion 83.7(b)(2)(v), as the petitioner demonstrated criterion 
83.7(c) using evidence described in 83.7(c)(2).
    Criterion 83.7(c) requires that the petitioning group has 
maintained political influence over its members as an autonomous entity 
since historical times. The evidence for 1789 to 1899 shows the 
Pamunkey Indians had a functioning decision-making process. The 
Pamunkey group used this political process to represent its interests 
to outsiders, approved any actions taken by the trustees appointed by 
the state to supervise the tribe, had a code of laws that dealt with 
issues of importance to the group, such as legal residency on the 
reservation, and mobilized to protect its resources. For the period 
1900 to the present, the group demonstrated control over residence 
rights on the reservation, imposition of sanctions to control 
individuals' behavior, and control and allocation of group resources. 
This evidence in the record for 1900 until the present is specified in 
83.7(c)(2), which also satisfies criterion 83.7(b) for that time.
    Criterion 83.7(d) requires that the petitioner provide a copy of 
its governing document including its membership criteria. The 
petitioner submitted a copy of its governing document which includes it 
membership criteria. Therefore, the Pamunkey petitioner meets criterion 
    Criterion 83.7(e) requires that the petitioner's members descend 
from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which 
combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity. For 
this PF, the Department defines the historical Pamunkey Indian tribe as 
81 Indian individuals named on any one of six King William County, 
Virginia, tax lists of personal property owners at Indian Town between 
1787 and 1802; three Pamunkey petitions to the Virginia state 
legislature dated 1798, 1812, and 1836; and one Colosse Baptist Church 
record of ``descendants of an Indian tribe on Indian Island'' circa 
1835. The October 18, 2012, Pamunkey membership list includes 203 
living members, both adults and minors. The evidence in the record 
shows that 162 of these members, or 80 percent, demonstrated descent 
from members of the historical Pamunkey Indian tribe. Therefore, the 
Pamunkey petitioner meets criterion 83.7(e).
    Criterion 83.7(f) requires that the petitioner's membership be 
composed principally of persons who are not members of another 
federally recognized Indian tribe. The Department found no evidence 
that any of the petitioner's current members are

[[Page 3862]]

enrolled with any federally recognized Indian tribe. Therefore, the 
petitioner meets criterion 83.7(f).
    Criterion 83.7(g) requires that the petitioner not be subject to 
congressional legislation that has terminated or forbidden the Federal 
relationship. The Department found no record that the petitioner was 
subject of legislation terminating or forbidding the Federal 
relationship. Therefore, the Pamunkey petitioner meets criterion 
    Based on this PF, the Department proposes to acknowledge as an 
Indian tribe the petitioner known as the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
    A report summarizing the evidence, reasoning, and analyses that are 
the basis for the PF will be provided to the petitioner and interested 
parties, and is available to other parties upon written request as 
provided by 25 CFR 83.10(h) or available on the Department of the 
Interior's Web site at http://www.doi.gov. Requests for a copy of the 
summary evaluation of the evidence should be addressed to the Federal 
Government as instructed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.
    Publication of this notice of the PF in the Federal Register 
initiates a 180-day comment period during which the petitioner and 
interested and informed parties may submit arguments and evidence to 
support or rebut the evidence relied upon in the PF. Comments on the PF 
should be addressed to both the petitioner and Federal Government as 
required by 25 CFR 83.10(i) and as instructed in the ADDRESSES section 
of this notice by the date listed in the DATES section of this notice.
    The regulations, 25 CFR 83.10(k), provide the petitioner a minimum 
of 60 days to respond to any submissions on the PF received from 
interested and informed parties during the comment period. After the 
expiration of the comment and response periods described above, the 
Department will consult with the petitioner concerning establishment of 
a schedule for preparation of the FD. The AS-IA will publish the FD of 
the petitioner's status in the Federal Register as provided in 25 CFR 
83.10(l), at a time that is consistent with that schedule.

    Dated: January 16, 2014.
Kevin K. Washburn,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2014-01349 Filed 1-22-14; 8:45 am]