By Julian Walker
Entertainer Wayne Newton is scheduled to testify in support of legislation that would extend state recognition to the Patawomeck Indians, a tribe to which he belongs.
"They used to be called the 'Newton Indians' because Newton is a very common surname in a particular part of Stafford County where these Indians all lived," Howell said. "And there's lots of Newtons there now who can trace their heritage, their ancestry back to the Patawomeck Tribe, and Wayne Newton is one of them."
Newton, who spent part of his childhood in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, says he's descended from the Patawomeck tribe. He agreed to lobby lawmakers after Chief Robert "Two Eagles" Green sent him a letter, asking him to write to the General Assembly on the tribe's behalf.
"I called him and said, 'Would it be more effective if I came there and delivered it myself?'" said Newton, who canceled his regular performance at the Tropicana's Tiffany Theater so he could appear in Richmond.
Eight other tribes, including the nearby Rappahannocks, already have state recognition, which opens the door to land protection and other important benefits. Newton, whose two daughters have been inducted into the Patawomeck tribe, is hoping his efforts will sway lawmakers.