The Pamunkey Indian Reservation, is on the Pamunkey river, adjacent to King William County Virginia. The reserve contains approximately 1,200 acres of land, 500 acres of which is wetlands with numerous creeks.
Currently 34 families reside on the reservation
Opechancanough was the chief of the Pamunkey, shortly after Powhatan's death he succeeded Powhatan as paramount chief. Modernday Pamunkey indians are descendants of Opechancanough’s and Powhatan’s people.
Pamunkeys known for lifestyle centered around pottery making, fishing, hunting and trapping.
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The governing body consists of a chief and seven council members elected every four years. The Chief and Council perform and govern all tribal governmental functions as set forth by their laws.
Elections are held every four years, in the traditional manner of using a pea and a corn. A basket is passed around on election night with the same number of peas and corn kernels as voters. The chief is the first to be voted on, and then the seven councilmen. Each person is given a pea and a corn to vote when the basket is passed for a candidate. A corn is for a “yes” vote for the candidate, and a pea is for a “no” vote. The peas and corn are counted for each person. Finally, when the basket has been passed for each candidate for the position, the person with the most corn is elected.
Prior to the 17th century, the Rappahannock Indians reside seasonally on the banks of the Totuskey Creek. They fished for spawning shad and herring each spring, trapping fish in weirs in the creek’s narrows and preparing them for the tribe to consume or trade. In 1651 when they were forced to sell their land to the English, part of the tibes move to “Totosha” town. In 1667, the Rappahannock sold this town and moved to their hunting grounds on the south side of the Rappahannock River, where they continue to live today.
The Rappahannock first met the English in 1603 When Captain Samuel Mace sailed in to Rappahannock River. Mace was befriended by the chief and records showed Mace killed the Chief and took a group of his Men back to England.
In December 1607 the Rappahannock met Captain John Smith for the first time at their capital town “Topahanocke” located at the banks of the river. Smith was taken to Rappanhannock for the people to determine if he was the one who murdered the chief 3 years ago. Smith was found innocent. In summer of 1608 Smith return to Rappahonnock and mapped fourteen Rappahannock villages on the north side of the river. South of the Rappahannock River was their primary hunting grounds.
Mattaponi Indians live along border of Mattaponi River in King William County. Their Reservation sit on the Mattaponi river, one of the most pristine rivers in the eastern united states.
The Mattaponi Indian reservation dates back to 1658, one of the oldest reservation in the country it was created from land long held by the tribe by an act of the Virginia general Assembly in 1658. In that time, the people made their living completely from nature's resources and they worshipped the Great Spirit. Now, they worship as Southern Baptists and have their church on the Mattaponi Reservation.
The reservation today encompasses approximately 150 acres, a portion of which is wetland. Although the tribal roll numbers 450 people, only 75 actually live on the reservation.
Facilities on the reservation include living quarters, a small church, a museum, the Fish Hatchery and Marine science Facility, and a community tribal building that was formerly the reservation school. The hatchery and Marine science Facility is funded by organizations as well as individuals.
Shad the main staple in the diet of Mattaponi Indians and the center of their culture.
As early as 1646 the Mattaponi began paying tribute to an early Virginia governor. To this day, the practice still continues when on the fourth Wednesday of November the tribe presents game or fish to the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Mattaponi Indians aims to maintain a sustainable community on the Mattaponi River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, that will extend the thousands of years of Mattaponi history and heritage
The Nanticoke Indians once roamed the area of what is now Maryland and Delaware. The Last villages and Reservations on Delmarva were dissolved during the decade preceding 1750. The people from Delmarva were relocating to the North and West. But some Indian families stayed behind, merging invisibly into the white society. By the early twentieth century, they had lost their native language. The last speaker of Nanticoke Lydia Clark, Died between 1840 and 1850.
The Nanticokes were known as People of the Tide Water. They were called Wenekto by the Delaware Indians.
Smith recorded that nearly 200 warriors lived with their families on the Nanticoke River, making their tribe more significant in population than many other tribes on the Eastern Shore at that time. There are nearly 500 Nanticoke living today in Sussex County and many tribal members who live in other states.
First contact with Nanticoke recorded by Captin John Smith was in 1608. While exploring Chesapeake bay, smith and his crew sailed into Kuskarawaok River. It wasn't until later that the Kuskarawoke were known as Nanticoke Indians.
In the 17 th and 18 th century besides growing crops and hunting the Nanticokes they also fishes because the settled near rivers or shores. Crabs, shrimp, eels, fish and oysters were caught.
As settlers moved in Naticokes were forced out. In 1642, Maryland governor Thomas Greene ordered Captain John Pike of the militia to attack and destroy the Naticoke village.
By end of At the end of the 17th Century, the Nanticoke and the Choptank were the only native tribes still living on the Eastern Shore of what is now Maryland
The first five treaties were sign in 1668 by Chief Unnacokasimmon to establish peace. However, the treaties was not fair to the Naticoke. Settlers continue to illegally seize their land. Eventually, Naticoke and Choptank asked Maryland authorities to grant them specific tacts of land.
In the early 18th Century, the Maryland Assembly set aside land for three reservations. Three thousand acres were set aside for the Nanticoke on Broad Creek along the river and creek areas. This helped at first, but it disrupted the seasonal hunting of the Nanticoke who needed to travel between their traditional winter hunting grounds and their spring and summer farming & fishing sites.
Furthermore, Maryland authorities included a stipulation that the only way the Nanticoke could legally retain reservation lands was if they agreed not to leave. Again, the Nanticoke leaders petitioned the authorities for temporary permission to leave during winter months to hunt. Finally, Maryland authorities agreed, but when the Nanticoke returned the following spring, they found homesteads on their land by squatters who assumed ownership by "right of occupancy." Trespassers also destroyed reservation land by harvesting large amounts of timber.
While visiting the reservations, traders brought liquor to exchange for furs. The Indians, who had never had alcoholic beverages, often awoke to find they had traded valuable furs for more liquor, instead of tools, clothing, and goods.
The Chickahominy tribe is divided into East Chickahominy and Chickahominy trible. This is due to travel inconvenience to tribal meetings in Charles City County.
European contact with the tribal ancestry of the modern day Chickahominy Indians and the Chickahominy Indian Tribe Eastern Division is recorded as early as 1607. They shared a history until the early 1900s, when it was decided by the Eastern Chickahominy to organize their own Tribal Government.
Chickahominy can be interpreted as "crushed corn people", "coarse pound corn people, or "coarse ground corn people", the preferred meaning is "coarse ground corn people".
In the 1600's the Chickahominy tribe is located in Charles City County, Virginia, midway between richmond and Williamsburg.
When Jamestown was established, the Chickahominy tribe lived in established villages along the Chickahominy River. The villages ran from the mouth of the river near Jamestown to the middle of current county, New Kent.
Today there are approximately 875 people living within 5 miles radius of the tribal center.
In the treaty of 1646 they were granted reservation land the Pamunkey neck area of Virginia, near where the Mattaponi reservation now exists in King William County.As settlers came in the tribe was crowded out of their land. Today families reside in Chickahominy ridge.
Eastern Chickahominy is located The Chickahominy Tribe Eastern Division is located 25 miles east of Richmond in New Kent County, Virginia. European contact with the tribal ancestry of the modern day Chickahominy Indians.
Eastern Chickahominy tribe is an non-reservated Eastern Woodlands Tribe presently has 132 members with about 67 members living in Virginia and 65 members living out of state
The Piscataway Indians, indigenous to southern Maryland, still reside in areas where first contact was made with the English colonists in the early 1600's.
Early Piscataway lives were similar to its neighboring Algonquin tribes in the mid-Atlantic region such as the Mattaponi and Pamunkey. Hunting and gathering, fishing, and subsistence farming were the means of survival. However, The invention of pottery enabled the tribes to store their food and protect vital seeds for planting.
The Piscataway Indians were among the most numerous and powerful native people in the Chesapeake region. From their homeland on the Piscataway Creek, by the early seventeenth century they had come to exercise some authority over every other Native American group on the north bank of the Potomac River. Although Piscataway fortunes declined as the Maryland colony grew, they are to this day the best-known Indian nation in Maryland.
Growing number of English and other Europeans migrating to Maryland increased the scale and scope of disputes over land. The Piscataway resisted, but, as history documents, their attempts were unsuccessful. Consequently, in the 1700's, a small group of Piscataway fled Maryland to seek refuge with other tribes, while the majority went "underground" into the unsettled regions of southern Maryland.
The 1970’s Piscataway was reorganized as a tribal entity.
When Virginians began to visit the Potomac in 1608, rivals and reluctant subjects of the Tayac (Ruler of the Piscataway) hoped that the newcomers would alter the balance of power in the region. This strategy worked: Virginians in search of trading partners consistently allied themselves with the Piscataways' enemies. By the early 1630s the Tayac's hold over some of his subordinate werowances had been much weakened. When the first Maryland colonists arrived in 1634, however, the Tayac managed to turn the newcomers into allies. However, when the English gained strength in the 1650s Maryland turned against their Indian allies.
By 1668 the western shore nations were confined to two reservations: one on the Wicomico River, and another on the Piscataways' traditional homeland. Many refugees from the dispossessed nations came to live with the Piscataways. Maryland authorities even forced the Piscataways to accept the hated Susquehannocks (recently defeated by the Five Nations Iroquois of New York) on the reservation. The result was a horrific war in 1675 in which the Susquehannocks were expelled from Maryland, first by a callous act of English treachery, and thereafter by Piscataway warriors who leapt at the opportunity to attack their ancient Susquehannock enemies.
Unfortunately for the Piscataways, the Susquehannocks joined forces with the Iroquois. Joined by their new Five Nations allies, Susquehannock warriors returned again and again to attack the Piscataways. The English provided little help, for Marylanders increasingly desired Piscataway land rather than Piscataway allies. Finally, in 1697, the Tayac moved far up the Potomac to escape the encroaching English. Within five years he had relocated again, this time to the Susquehanna River. There his people, now known as “ Conoys” could live under Iroquois protection. Soon, however, even Pennsylvania proved unsafe, leading some Conoys to resettle in Canada.
The Nansemond Indians originally lived along the Nansemond River and were part of the empire (not a confederacy) ruled by Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas. When the English arrived in Virginia, the tribe had about 300 warriors and a total population of perhaps 1200 people.
The arriving English raided the Nansemond town in 1608, burning their houses and destroying their canoes in order to force them to give up their corn, thus beginning the open hostilities between the two communities.
The Nansemonds were initially wary and often hostile toward the English, but by the 1630's some of them had changed their minds. A family sermon book still in the Chief's possession records the 1638 marriage of John Bass, and a Nansemond convert to Christianity named Elizabeth. Everyone in the modern Nansemond tribe is descended from that marriage.
Meanwhile, in the 1720's, the Christianized Nansemonds moved to an area just northeast of the Dismal Swamp, where game was more plentiful and English settlers f were fewer. But their neighbors were not always tolerant of their Indian ancestry. Several times in the 18th Century Nansemond people had to get certificates from the Norfolk County Clerks stating that they were of Indian and English ancestry and loyal to the English of Virginia. And in the 1830's, when Virginia enacted repressive laws against non-whites, the Nansemonds got their Delegate to have a law passed so that they could be specially certified as Indian descendants, exempt from the discriminatory laws.
As increasing numbers of Europeans poured into the Nansemond river area, the tribal members had to relocate their tribal lands and their reservation on several occasions, losing their last known reservation lands in 1792.
In 1850 the Methodist Church established a mission for the Nansemonds; a county school was added there in the 1890's. That mission is now Indiana United Methodist Church in Bowers Hill, home of an Indian and white congregation and meeting place for the modern Nansemond tribe. The late 19th Century Nansemonds joined their non-Indian neighbors in moving away to nearby cities. When an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution made a census in 1901, the tribe had about 180 people, more than half of whom lived in Norfolk and Portsmouth.
In the 1920's the Nansemonds almost managed to reorganize their tribe thanks to Frank Speck, an anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania. But in the very repressive atmosphere that existed then for non-whites, the organization did not come off. It was not until the post-Civil Rights Era, when other Indian groups without reservations got formal recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, that the Nansemonds finally organized and got recognition as a tribe (in 1984). By that time, most of them had lived successfully for two or more generations in local cities as "whites with Indian ancestry"; the changeover to being "Indians with white ancestry" has not been hard.
Today the Nansemond Indian Tribal Association is the Nansemond tribe's official name.
The Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia is composed of about 1,400 people, located in the Amherst County area near Lynchburg.
The Monacan Nation is one of the oldest groups of indigenous people still existing in their ancestral homeland and the only group of Eastern Siouans in the state.
Their culture in this region dates back 10,000 years, and the original territory of the tribe comprised roughly half of the state of Virginia, including most of the Piedmont region.
Scientists believe that the Siouan people were unified at one time, thousands of years ago, in the Ohio River Valley, and that the tribes moved both east and west, separating into the Eastern and Western Sioux
Monacan Indians spoke a language related to other Eastern Siouan tribes, such as the Catawba and the Waccamaw. They are closely related to the Occaneechi and Saponi tribes, now located in North Carolina.
Traditionally, Monacan people buried the remains of their dead in sacred earthen mounds constructed over time. Thirteen such mounds have been found throughout the Blue ridge and Piedmont regions, similarly constructed, some more than a thousand years old. Thomas Jefferson observed several Indians visiting one of the mounds on his property in the 1700s. He later excavated the mound and became known as the father of American archaeology because he documented the findings.
The Monacan community today centers around Bear Mountain in Amherst County. At this site, a log cabin was built in the late 1870s and used as a church for the Indian people. Later, it functioned as a school. Today, the log cabin is a recognized National Historic Landmark.
The Episcopal Church has operated an Indian Mission here, since 1908 and in 1995 it returned 7.5 acres of land to the Monacan Nation. In the late 1960s, the school it conducted was discontinued after Monacans petitioned to attend public schools.