My concern about legislation moving through the House to federally recognize six Virginia Indian tribes is that it could lay the foundation for casino gambling in the Commonwealth.  The bill, as presently written, does not shut the door on the opportunity for these tribes to acquire land and eventually establish tribal casinos.  I know that the current leadership of the tribes have indicated that they do not want to pursue gambling - and I believe them - but I worry that future leadership of the tribes may not share their views and could pursue establishing casinos, which has happened before in both Michigan and California.

I am not opposed to federal recognition of the Virginia tribes.  In fact, I believe that we owe them a huge debt of gratitude, particularly for their contributions to the Jamestown settlement.  Nevertheless, I believe it is critically important that an iron clad prohibition of gambling be written into any recognition legislation for Virginia tribes.  Over the years I have worked with the tribes to develop a bill that would accomplish their aim of recognition without opening the door to casino gambling in Virginia but my efforts have been repeatedly rebuffed.