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Sacred land returned to tribe in Virginia

Words by Smiley Team

After more than 350 years, the Native American tribe Rappahannock has reaquired hundreds of acres of its land.

456 acres, located at Fones Cliffs, Virginia, was required by the tribe during a celebration hosted by the Department of the Interior.  “Threatened by development for decades, this “crown jewel” of Virginia has immense significance, not only for the surrounding environment but for American history,” the Conservation Fund said on their website.

The Conservation Fund is an organization that helps promote conservation in the US by joining public, private, and non-profit organizations to create a broader understanding and support for conservation work.

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Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, joined the Rappahannock Tribe at the celebration. “The Department is honored to join the Rappahannock Tribe in co-stewardship of this portion of their ancestral homeland," she said.

"We look forward to drawing upon Tribal expertise and Indigenous knowledge in helping manage the area's wildlife and habitat. This historic reacquisition underscores how Tribes, private landowners, and other stakeholders all play a central role in this Administration's work to ensure our conservation efforts are locally led and support communities' health and well-being.”

Why is the land so important?

Beyond the importance of the land to the tribe, it’s also an integral region for resident and migratory bald eagles and other birds. It’s home to the largest nesting population of bald eagles on the east coast of the United States and remains one of the few places you can consistently see bald eagles on the east coast.

“We have worked for many years to restore this sacred place to the tribe," said Rappahannock Tribe Chief, Anne Richardson, at the event. "With eagles being prayer messengers, this area where they gather has always been a place of natural, cultural, and spiritual importance."

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: The Conservation Fund works with public, private and nonprofit partners, protects America’s legacy of land and water resources. Support them. 

DONATE: You can donate to the Nature Conservancy, which is looking to preserve land all over the world. 

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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