Tribal Officers

UCITOVA Officers


Name: Samuel H. Penn, Sr.
Tribal name: Mountain Wolf
Position: Chief
Occupation: Union Organizer
Statement: Our journey has been long and difficult over the past twenty years, with many road blocks placed before us. However, due to our rich history, strong desire to overcome obstacles, and deep commitment to move forward; we as a Tribe will never give up! Rest assured that the officers and tribal council members are working towards meeting established goals and leaving a strong foundation for future generations of VIRGINIA CHEROKEES to build upon. We MUST keep up the fight for what is right!

Name: Samuel H. Pinn
Tribal name: Leaping Wolf
Position: Vice Chief
Employment: Bank of America Assistant Vice President
Statement: "I am proud to be a member of UCITOVA. Working with the tribe has given me an opportunity to learn more about my heritage and educate our youth about where they come from."

Name: Shelby W. Penn
Tribal name: Quiet Fire
Position: Secretary
Occupation: Registered Nurse
Statement: The United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Inc. is important to me because it represents a giant step towards unveiling an essential historical fact that has been buried far too long. UCITOVA allows us to come together boldly proclaiming the quietly spoken words of our ancestors, while pursuing our ultimate goals of documentation and tribal recognition.


Name: Jessica N. Penn
Tribal name: Lioness
Position: Assistant Secretary
Occupation: Youth Counselor
The United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Inc. allows me to know and understand another part of my heritage. Years of silence have allowed people to think that we do not exist, but I know the truth.  We are here and strong. 

Name: Kenneth M. Penn, Sr.
Tribal name: Red Man
Occupation: Retired Quality Assurance Technician
Statement: My vision for UCITOVA is to educate the public of the importance of Native Americans.  The Government feels that a woodpecker, that may be Extinct, is more important than Native Americans.


Name: Phyllis S. Thompson
Indian name: Night Hawk
Position: Assistant Treasurer
Occupation: Supervisor VDOT
Unity, standing together, FAMILY, teaching, learning, understanding your heritage and where you come from. Helping one another. Having pride in yourself, but not being too proud. Humbling yourself. Caring for others. Being there when someone needs a listening ear. Patience.


Name: Blondie Ferguson Anderson
Tribal name: Blue Bird
Position: Chaplin
Occupation: Retired GE, Ericsson, SCI Systems - 34 years service
Statement: The tribe is important to me because we are all one big family dating back to the 1700s.

Tribal Council


Name: Diane McCoy
Tribal name: Running Water
Position: Tribal Council Member
Occupation: Retired Nurse
Statement: After attending an annual day event with my husband I decided to join the tribe.  My family history was interesting and I needed to know more. I became very vigilant at the annual breakfast with the chief held every Thanksgiving weekend.  I was asked to set on the council where I felt I could be helpful and I accepted.  I feel this is a great opportunity to learn more about my heritage.  Hopefully, we will get recognized and get our rightful place in Virginia and American history.

Name: Robert C. McCoy, Jr.
Tribal name: Lone Wolf
Position: Tribal Council Member
Occupation: Retired Police Office
Statement: I joined United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia in 1991.  After a few years I began to talk more about my heritage with my children. They also joined the tribe.  We started attending the breakfast with the chief and annual day celebrations.  I became increasingly aware of my heritage and I needed to learn more.  When asked to serve on the tribal council and help move the tribe along I accepted.  This will enable me to assist the Chief to continue the goal of State and Federal recognition which is long overdue.

Name: Bernetta Chambers-Pinn
Tribal name: Red Bear
Position: Tribal Council Member
Occupation: Kindergarten Teacher
Statement: I am very proud to be a member of UCITOVA. By being a member, I am giving honor to those who have gone on before me. I love sharing my Cherokee heritage with everyone I meet.

Name: Ollie Spencer, Sr.
Tribal name: Thundercloud
Position: Tribal Council Member
Occupation: Retired Airport Electrician, 37 years Federal Government
Statement: To me UCITOVA means coming home to a great awakening.     Our people have had hide and deny who were really are. But now Buffalo Ridge Cherokees have risen.

Name: Norma Wood Wilson
Tribal name: Passion Flower
Position: Tribal Council Member
Occupation: Retired Teacher
Statement: Learning about my ancestral heritage that had been hidden for many years.  It’s also a way to connect with other tribal members to share and obtain additional information that can be documented and passed on to our children.   The efforts and dedication of United Cherokee Indian Tribe of Virginia, Inc., have proven that we come from a heritage that has been denied the rightful recognition that so many other tribes have obtained.

Name: Brian O. Wood
Tribal name: Wild Cat
Position: Tribal Council Member
Statement: Being a part of UCITOVA connects me to my heritage in a visceral way. We are a continuation of the legacy of the first peoples here in Virginia.