You have permission to edit this article.

Northam orders state to consult with tribal nations when considering permits

  • Updated
  • 0
Indiian chief

Pamunkey Indian Tribe Chief Robert Gray presented Gov. Ralph Northam with a deer and pottery at the 341st tax tribute ceremony, during which the Pamunkey and Mattaponi present game hunted on their land in lieu of tax payments under the terms of a treaty signed in 1677.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday ordered state agencies to consult with Virginia’s federally recognized tribal nations when considering state permits to determine whether development projects might impact environmental, cultural and historic resources.

“Federal agencies are required to offer an opportunity for government-to-government consultation with federally recognized tribal nations when taking actions that have tribal implications,” Northam wrote in Executive Order 82. “This order ensures the commonwealth of Virginia provides similar opportunities for consultation with federally recognized tribal nations when evaluating certain state permit applications.”

The order will apply to a range of projects, including groundwater withdrawal permits, burial permits for relocation of human remains, dams and oil and gas drilling in Tidewater Virginia, among others.

Additionally, the directive requires the state to appoint an ombudsman for tribal consultation and for agencies involved in the specified permits and reviews to develop a tribal consultation policy within the next three months.

Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, called Thursday’s order “an historic step forward in advancing the government-to-government relationship between tribal nations and states in this country.”

Virginia is home to seven federally recognized tribes, including the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, Monacan Indian Nation, Nansemond Indian Nation, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Rappahannock Tribe and Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. Despite a long recorded history of the tribes in Virginia, none received federal recognition until 2018.

In a release, Northam cast the order as part of an ongoing effort by Virginia “to address past wrongs and strengthen our relationships with Virginia’s tribes.”

“Tribal nations have always been integral to the cultural and historic fabric of Virginia, and this order is among the first steps that will affirm tribal sovereignty and enhance relationships between our governments,” he said.

2020 was a year marked by hardships and challenges, but the Fauquier community has proven resilient. The Fauquier Times is honored to serve as your community companion. To say thank you for your continued support, we’d like to offer all our subscribers -- new or returning --


We understand the importance of working to keep our community strong and connected. As we move forward together into 2021, it will take commitment, communication, creativity, and a strong connection with those who are most affected by the stories we cover.

We are dedicated to providing the reliable, local journalism you have come to expect. We are committed to serving you with renewed energy and growing resources. Let the Fauquier Times be your community companion throughout 2021, and for many years to come.


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

The future of Fauquier Times now depends on community support. Your donation will help us continue to improve our journalism through in-depth local news coverage and expanded reader engagement.

Keeping you connected to the Community. Find or Submit your local event here..