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This concerns the Feb. 13 article on the recognition of the Appalachian Cherokee Nation and the Buffalo Ridge Cherokee Tribe by the commonwealth of Virginia ["Recognition of Cherokee tribes in Virginia tabled"].
The article stated the recognition effort has stalled because the sponsors are unable to determine whether the two groups are basically descendants of the same ancestors.
The Cherokee Nation ceded its Virginia lands to the commonwealth around 1760. However, the two tribes are separate and distinct.
The Buffalo Ridge Cherokees applied for state recognition but were denied
More recently, the late Chief Ray Lonewolf Couch expanded the membership by adopting persons basically in central Virginia into membership. This is the group referred to as a "club" by Chief Couch's widow, Jewel Covey Couch.
The delegate who sponsored the Appalachian Cherokee recognition effort should request testimony from the Appalachian Cherokee leadership located near the West Virginia border.
As a former member of the Virginia Council on Indians representing those Indians in Virginia who are not members of the state-recognized tribes, I was part of the committee which made recommendations to the state legislature on petitions for recognition submitted by tribal groups.
Unfortunately, that resource is no longer available to the House of Delegates. The burden of proof is, of course, on the petitioning tribal group but the delegate who sponsors legislation shares a responsibility to ensure that only legitimate petitioning groups are considered.
Mitchell L. Bush Jr.