Pamunkey Indian Tribe in King William County earns preliminary federal recognition

“I feel confident others would be successful, especially if there new regulations approved,” he added.

It may take some time, however, for other tribal leaders to decide what direction to take.

“We are happy for the Pamunkey. They are brothers of ours,” Custalow said. “However, this decision will not sway us in either direction. Our decision to file a petition will be based on want our people want and what they want to pursue.”

“I am very glad the Pamunkey tribe has received its preliminary approval. They have worked hard,” Adams agreed. “Anything positive like this gives us inspiration. It is good for the Powhatan Indians, good for King William County, and good for Virginia.”

After the 180-day public comment period, the Pamunkey Tribe has 60 days to respond to any submissions, after which, if warranted, the BIA can offer a consultation period to the tribe to address any arguments or adjustments due to responses submitted by the Tribe.

Then the BIA has 60 days to publish a final determination in the Federal Register, which will become effective 90 days from publication.

If the BIA reverses it’s preliminary finding, the petitioner has 90 days to request reconsideration. Brown said he does not believe a petition has been reversed before and is looking forward to more positive news in the future for the Pamunkey and Virginia’s Indians.

“It’s great news but we are all still in shock,” said Jeff Brown, who is a former Tribal Council member. “We do have another 180 days and more to wait but it’s exciting to have reached this point. It’s been a long-time coming.”

For more information about the BIA’s Office of Federal Acknowledgement visit

Hubbard can be reached by phone at 804-885-0042