Mattanock is a good investment

Published 8:31 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tonight could turn out to be the turning point for Mattanock Town. After years of debate on the idea of building a replica of an Indian village along the banks of the Nansemond River, there is a real possibility that the Suffolk City Council will act in favor of the project tonight.

Such an action will be a welcome relief for the many members and friends of the Nansemond Indian Tribe who have worked so long and hard to bring their idea to reality. And the success would come right on the heels of what had seemed utter defeat. City officials had said in June that they could not support the project by donating the land near Lone Star Lakes that the tribe has sought.

At that point, it seemed, tribal leaders had been completely shut down regarding Mattanock Town — the city would not give them even a fifth of the 100 or so acres the Nansemonds had sought. Tonight, council members will consider following a public hearing whether they should make the entire property available that was originally requested.

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If the request is granted, members of the tribe will begin raising money with a goal of building a village that mimics what life was like for American Indians in pre-colonial times. There also would be powwow grounds, a museum, a tribal center and reburial grounds. Officials from the tribe contend that the facility will attract tourists to Suffolk and serve as an educational tool for area teachers.

The proposal deserves council’s full support after all these years. There won’t be many more times in the city’s history when it gets the opportunity to do something with such potential long-term benefits for such a small investment.