Public Comments for: HB1120 - Higher educational institutions, public; admission, in-state tuition, and tuition waivers.
Last Name: adams Organization: Upper Mattaponi Tribe Locality: king william

The Upper Mattaponi Tribe supports bill HB1120. This bill will create opportunities for our tribal citizens that have never existed in Virginia before.

Last Name: Fortune Organization: Rappahannock Indian Tribe Locality: Spotsylvania

Honorable McQuinn & Committee members My name is John Fortune, a Councilman of the Rappahannock Indian Tribe. One of the seven Federally Recognized tribe. The RIT’ s tribal grounds and Center is located in King and Queen, Virginia. I’d like to ask for your support of a bill that’s very important to our tribe, HB 1120, sponsored by Delegate McQuinn. This bill would make members of the seven federally-recognized tribes in Virginia eligible for in-state tuition, even if they currently live outside of the Commonwealth. (The federally recognized tribes in Virginia are: the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe- Eastern Division, the Monacan Indian Nation, the Nansemond Indian Nation, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, the Rappahannock Indian Tribe, and the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe.) While the bill is likely to provide direct benefit to 3 or fewer students per year, it is very significant to us and has great symbolic importance to the tribe. This bill is a crucial part of our efforts to encourage our most talented youth to create futures for themselves here in Virginia. We need our young people to return to participate in community leadership and service.    Unfortunately, many members of our tribes have been forced to move outside of Virginia in search of educational and economic opportunities because Virginia law excluded Native Americans. Prior to the 1960’s, Virginia’s tribal schools did not educate children beyond the 8th grade. The state sent tribal youth to boarding schools far from home, destroying their attachments to their cultural and their homes.  This benefit would reflect the special nature of our relationship with Virginia. It is not a race-based benefit. We are federally recognized tribal nations. Making all members of our tribes eligible for in-state tuition would be consistent with the important political relationship we have with the Commonwealth. The legislation’s budget amendment ensures that the Commonwealth will cover the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition; universities will not bear any additional costs.   Thank you for your attention to this legislation. I hope that we will get your support on Monday, when the Higher Education Subcommittee considers the bill.    Sincerely, John Fortune Swift Fox Councilman Rappahannock Indian Tribe

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