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Annual Indian Tax Tribute Ceremony Held in Richmond

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Governor McAuliffe accepting the annual Indian Tax Tribute Governor McAuliffe accepting the annual Indian Tax Tribute
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

Virginia's governor and two Indian chiefs carried on a time-honored tradition in front of the executive mansion in Richmond Wednesday morning. 

The annual Indian Tax Tribute takes place in lieu of tribes in the commonwealth paying state taxes.  Governor Terry McAuliffe accepted two deer and other handmade presents from the Pamunkey and Mattaponi tribes.

This year is special as the Pamunkey tribe celebrates earning federal recognition, a process that took years of work and legal challenges.

“Everyone's happy, the tribe is happy, we had a celebration earlier this year for it,” said Chief Robert Gray of the Pamunkey Tribe. “It gives our people access to programs that weren't available prior - housing, education, also to help to our reservation, environmental issues."

The Pamunkeys became the first Virginia tribe to receive this status. Governor McAuliffe says his administration and other elected officials are working with other tribes interested in applying.

This is the 339th year the ceremony has been held. In addition to the deer, the governor and his family were presented with pottery, turkey feathers, and a walking stick. The venison will go to homeless shelters to help those in need celebrate Thanksgiving.

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