Nansemond Indian Nation receives federal housing grant  

Published 6:32 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2022

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Suffolk’s Nansemond Indian Nation Tribe will share in more than $1 million in federal funding for housing.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced last month that seven Virginia tribes would receive grants to be used toward affordable housing. The Nansemond tribe received $184,484.

“These past two years have been difficult for all of us, with some of the most extreme pandemic impacts falling on tribal communities,” said the senators in a press release. “It’s critical that we not only respect their sovereignty and self-determination, but help them access resources to address urgent issues, like the affordable housing crisis.”

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The Indian Housing Block Grant Program is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. To be considered for the grant, tribes must complete an application and include a plan for the funds.

The Nansemond Indian Nation Tribe includes indigenous people in settlements on both sides of the river. The word “Nansemond” means fishing point, and the name pays tribute to the fishing, oyster harvesting, hunting and farming they did in the area.

According to its website, the tribe was originally part of the Tsenacomoco coalition made up of 30 Algonquian Indian tribes throughout the northern, southern and western lands surrounding the Chesapeake Bay.

The tribe received state recognition in 1985 and federal recognition in 2018 as part of the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act, but the tribe dates to the 1600s.

The new federal funding will be used for activities and support for low-income, qualifying families. More specific decisions for the money will be made later this year as the tribe moves into a new council following a recent election.

“This grant means a lot to the tribe. We’re extremely grateful to Senators Warner and Kaine,” said Thomas Badamo, interim tribal administrator. “We received more than we were expecting.”

The grant announcement followed a visit from Kaine in April.

“Great roundtable discussion this morning with the Nansemond Indian Nation about how they’re navigating the pandemic,” he tweeted. “Federal support for Virginia tribes has been a priority of mine for years and I’m so proud that we’ve furthered this partnership.”

For more information about the Nansemond Indian Nation visit