The exposure of the tribe’s racist past is largely the work of 30-year-old Essex County resident Jasmine N. Anderson, who has spent more than five years quietly working to gain recognition for herself and her relatives. They are members of the Dungee family that was banished from the tribe between 1865 and 1871 after a member opened a free school for newly freed slaves near the reservation.
“I have undisputed, direct ancestral ties to four Pamunkey Indian lines,” Ms. Anderson said.
That includes her six-times great-grandfather, Joseph Dungee Jr., and his brother, Jesse Dungee (also spelled Dungey and Dungy), a farmer and minister who represented King William County in the General Assembly from 1871 to 1873, and gained recognition as both a Pamunkey and as an African-American legislator.
The historical racism makes you wonder how people think. But the young people, like Jasmine Anderson may lead the elders to the path of justice.
Congressional Black Caucus continues to seek justice as well,
While most Virginia elected officials have ignored concerns about Pamunkey action to ex- clude her family, Ms. Anderson has garnered support from Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen S. Moore, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who has urged the tribe to end its blockade of Ms. Anderson’s admission to the tribe.
“I am confident that we share the goal of seeing the ugly history of the Pamunkey Black Laws truly put to rest so that the Pamunkey Tribe and all its people can move into a prosperous future,” Rep. Moore wrote to the tribe in June.
Congresswoman Moore also has instituted an inquiry with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs about the situation.
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