Tribe chief wants firm commitment from task force

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 12, 2002

Progress for a proposed Indian village near Chuckatuck stalled Tuesday when Nansemond Indian Chief Barry Bass refused to share the tribe’s management plan with a task force studying the project.

Last year, the Nansemond Indian tribe asked the Suffolk City Council to deed part of Lone Star Lakes Park to the tribe. The Nansemonds would then acquire grant funding to build a tribal cultural museum and powwow facility.

During its meeting yesterday, Bass indicated he wanted the Mattanock Town Task Force

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– which is made up of both city and tribal representatives – to pledge its support for the $5.3 million project before distributing the management plan.

&uot;What we need first is a commitment from the task force,&uot; Bass said. &uot;…Our consultants, the people we look toward to steer us, have advised us that a business plan is not the same as a management plan …and that we don’t need to turn it over until we get to a certain point.&uot;

The tribe developed its management plan with help from a professor at Regent University’s business school.

Dot Dalton, an advocate for the tribe, agreed.

&uot;Why would the tribe share its management plan without knowing whether the city is going to support it?&uot; Dalton said. &uot;We’ll be giving away secrets we don’t want shared with a city who doesn’t support the project.&uot;

Bass also expressed concern that the project appears to be turning into a joint project.

&uot;We don’t look at this as a business venture,&uot; he said. &uot;This is our way of life, our heritage. We don’t expect it to make a lot of money, we just want it to make enough to keep it alive for future generations.&uot;

The city has indicated it eventually plans to build a public marina at the park, which the tribe has factored into its revised drawings. The tribe is requesting separate roads and parking areas for the two sites.

Assistant City Manager Steve Herbert said he would like to see the tribe and city sharing some facilities and infrastructure costs.

During its January meeting, the task force will meet with the Regent professor who is helping the tribe and a representative from the Industrial Development Authority who specializes in small business.