The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved a bill yesterday that would give federal recognition to six tribes in Virginia and the 55,000-member Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a similar piece of legislation earlier this year for these tribes. The bill bars the tribes from having Indian casinos.
The six tribes in Virginia are the Eastern Chickahominy, Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Monacan and Nansemond.
The Obama administration has not made any public statements about the Virginia tribes though President Obama has said that he supports federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe.
The legislation bypasses the Interior Department's federal recognition petitioning process, which the Senate Indian Affairs Committee chairman Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, says is broken.
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