Monacan Tribe breaks ground on first Native American owned and operated full service healthcare facility in Virginia

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT
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AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Wednesday was a historic day in Amherst County as ground was broken on the very first Native American owned and operated full service tribal clinic in the state of Virginia.

There are about 1,600 Monacans in Southwestern Virginia and they are the largest Native American tribe in the state. Soon, they will have a free, full-service healthcare facility solely for their people.

“A lot of these people have never seen a doctor or a dentist,” explains tribe administrator Adrian Compton. “So this is the opportunity for these people to have full healthcare.”

The facility will be 13,000 square feet and cost $10 million that the tribe has self-funded. It’s being built on part of the six acres of land that they recently purchased at 111 Highview Drive in Madison Heights.

“It is set up for native people,” adds Chief Kenneth Branham. “A lot of the elders, I know in my tribe, do not like to go out to other doctors that they don’t know. Hopefully in a year or so, they’ll get to know who is waiting on them and it’ll be like a friendship and they’ll be more comfortable going here than to Lynchburg or somewhere else.”

The Monacan Native American tribe plans to employ 20-30 people in high paying positions at the center. They say that the construction of the medical facility is a sign of progress.

“When I was growing up, I had to fight to go to school in Amherst County,” remembers the Chief. “So to stand here today and break ground for a clinic for the Monacan people and Indian people, it’s a dream.”

Chief Branham says that he hopes to eventually expand and open the facility to anyone in the community.

Tribal leaders are hopeful that the clinic will be open and accepting patients in a little over a year.

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