JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va., Aug. 12, 2019 —
Joint Base Langley-Eustis leadership hosted members from four Native American groups as part of an initial tribal consultation, Aug. 7-8.
The four Chiefs that visited represent the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, the Nansemond Indian Nation, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe and the Chickahominy Indian Tribe – Eastern Division; all tribes that have historic ties to the Hampton Roads area, including land that is now part of JBLE.
“This visit provides us an opportunity to not only meet the local Tribal Chiefs but also show that we are keenly aware of the cultural sites on JBLE, and make every effort to preserve these important sites,” said Col. Clinton Ross, commander, 633rd Air Base Wing. “It is important that we maintain an open dialogue, and know what issues are important to the Tribal Members. This is the first of what we hope will be many meetings between the Tribal Leaders and our JBLE team.”
Federally recognized Native American tribes have a unique legal status as domestic or internal sovereign nations. The federal government, including the military, have the responsibility of consulting with tribes, which develops a formal government-to-government relationship.
“People are often surprised that we have sites that were occupied by Native peoples on the installation,” said Dr. Christopher L. McDaid, cultural resources manager for JBLE-Eustis. “This consultation meeting will help us be better stewards of those places by working with the descendants of the people that lived on this land for thousands of years.”
Native peoples occupied the land that is now JBLE for more than 10,000 years prior to colonial settlement. Both parts of JBLE, Langley and Eustis, have cultural sites with archeological materials left behind by ancestors of these tribes.
This consultation meeting with federally recognized Native American tribes is not unique to JBLE, as military installations throughout the U.S. conduct tribal consultations with Native American dignitaries. Air Force Instruction 90-2002 is the established guidance regarding these tribal consultations.