LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Tribal leaders with the Monacan Indian Nation held a ribbon-cutting for their new complex in Madison Heights on Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine helped cut the ribbon on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Kaine helped pass legislation three years ago to give six tribes in Virginia federal recognition, including the Monacan Indian Nation.
“I’m cutting it for the 10,000 years in back, and I’m going to cut it for the 10,000 years ahead,” said Kaine.
The complex serves a range of functions for the tribe, like offices and meeting space.
“A lot of exciting use,” said Chief Kenneth Branham. “It’s a lot of long plans, planning that we’ve done say 10, 15 years ago to get some of these things done.”
A focal point of the complex will serve the greater community.
“The food bank, which is open to all people in Amherst County here and Rockbridge Monocans.”
Sally Latimer says her team of Monacan women put a lot of care into setting it up.
“We want to make sure that when people come here, they feel comfortable, and it’s hard to ask for help, no matter who they are.”
She says before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Monacan Indian Nation’s food bank was serving fewer than 50 families a month.
“COVID hit, and as everybody knows, the impact was great. We increased our clientele by 1000 percent.”
“What we’re doing here will help not only the Monacan people but all people of Amherst county for generations to come,” said Branham