Indigenous trust fund will receive annual Norfolk casino funds
Pamunkey Indian Tribe pledges $3.5-$4M a year to benefit other Va. tribes
On Virginia’s first state-recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe announced Monday that its proposed casino in Norfolk would provide between $3.5 million and $4 million each year to the Virginia Indigenous People’s Trust Fund.
The proposed $500 million casino and resort is on the Nov. 3 general election ballot in the city of Norfolk; if voters approve the plan, the casino would be built on the waterfront near Harbor Park. If the casino moves forward, it would be the only tribe-affiliated commercial casino in Virginia, where four casinos’ fates are being decided by voters in local referendums next month.
The Pamunkey Tribe, the first of seven Virginia Native American tribes to be federally recognized, falls under state legislation that directs 1% of gaming proceeds from any tribe-operated casino to be given to a fund to assist the other Virginia tribes that are federally recognized.
According to a news release from the tribe, the fund will provide finances for education, housing, health care and business development to the Chickahominy Tribe and the Chickahominy-Eastern Division; the Monacan Indian Nation; the Nansemond; the Rappahannock Tribe Inc.; and the Upper Mattaponi Tribe. In addition to the fund, about $50 million a year will go toward school construction and renovation, focusing on public schools that were constructed more than 50 years ago.
“As the only tribe eligible to operate a casino in the state, we are thrilled with the opportunities our proposed resort and casino can provide other native Virginians,” Pamunkey Tribe Chief Robert Gray said in a statement. “After suffering injustices for hundreds of years, casino gaming in Norfolk will help continue the process of reconciliation for some of the commonwealth’s first disenfranchised groups. We know what this will mean in terms of new opportunities for our tribe, and that’s why we pushed to have a portion of gaming revenue taxes go to a fund to assist the other tribes.”