The Virginia colonists, as mentioned before, made treaties with Native peoples from the very first attempts at setdement, and the House of Burgesses in the mid-1600s allowed for the creation of
reservations for the Mattaponi and Pamunkey, members of the Powhatan Confederacy living in what is now King William County, Virginia. Other Native groups that did not cease to exist in Virginia through extermination, intermarriage or migration remained sufficiently cohesive and with enough community identity intact to petition the State of Virginia for recognition in the 1980s. State recognition of a tribe’s existence is very different from federal recognition. Whereas a state recognized tribe is accorded official status by the state and is included in all state-level governmental discussions and divisions of state government concerned with Native American issues and affairs, federal recognition accords a legal relationship more akin to that between two sovereign nations.
While a federally recognized tribe (such as the Cherokee) might be allowed a great degree of fiscal autonomy, exemption from some state codes and regulations and control of lands within a reservation with set boundaries, state recognition does not guarantee any of these protections or allowances. Never-the-less state recognition is acknowledgement of an indigenous group’s identity and official status, and without this recognition a Native group may not enjoy the same level of official awareness and respect by state government and institutions.
There have usually been two sticking points in the creation of state or federal recognition of a tribe, these being, first, whether or not resources (such as land in the form of a reservation or funds in
From the perspective of many Native Americans who find their official status challenged, it is insulting for non-Native Americans to suddenly expect excellent documentation and proof through hundreds of years of a specific group’s Native identity and culture. From the opposite perspective, that of government (state or federal), without some means of regulation any group of people could apply for and receive recognition as a tribe and any benefits that may accompany official status, and therefore it pays to be vigilant and have a formal procedure for the application for tribal recognition. Unfortunately this has lead to occasional misunderstandings and even poor contemporary relations between tribes and governments. Using the Lumbee of North Carolina as an example again, in the 1940s the federal government sent doctors to the Lumbee region to test blood samples of Lumbee to determine “how Indian” they were. The test results, using the technology of that era, suggested to the researchers that these people were not sufficiently Indian, having only a percentage of “Native blood”.
Today anthropologists see cultural identity as composed of a variety of factors, genetics being only one of them, and the science of genetics in the 1940s was rudimentary and simplistic at best. As a result of the 1940s work, however, the Lumbee did not and have yet to receive federal recognition, although they are the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River and have been well documented as living in their tribal lands since the mid-1700s. The Lumbee people, infuriated, stopped seeing the federal government as an entity that could help them or that cared about their economic and social plight. Similar stories have been repeated in Virginia and elsewhere.
Warren’s Heritage: Native American History-Part 6
The Warren Heritage society exhibit “Native Warren” tells the history of the Native American history and heritage of the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia, and to accompany this exhibit Warren’s Heritage will run be running a series of articles based on topics covered in the exhibit itself. Laura Wahl, a member of the exhibit committee, contributed much of the background research to this series. Enjoy reading, and we look forward to seeing you this year in the museum to appreciate the real thing!
The Peopling of the New World: Native Americans were the first people to inhabit Virginia thousands of years ago. In fact, Native Americans had been living in Virginia possibly as long as 17,000 years before European contact. These “first peoples” have no written language, and therefore are referred to as prehistoric Native Americans. Archeologists have studied the ancient past of Native Americans through artifacts such as tools and bones left behind from food sites. Archeologists have divided early Native American prehistory into three main time periods: Paleoindian, Archaic, and Woodland.
The Paleoindian Era: 13 thousand years ago — 7 thousand 900 years ago: The three periods of Native American prehistory represent the development and growth that the early Native Americans experienced throughout time. This development and growth can mostly be seen through changes in the Native American technology, particularly in stone tools. Paleo-Indians have been extensively studied by archeologists for use of what is referred to as the Clovis point. The Clovis point is a lance-shaped fluted point, first found in Clovis, New Mexico in 1927, and has also been discovered throughout Virginia and extensively throughout Warren County. The Thunderbird Site, a 12,000 year old Paleoindian site in Warren County, Virginia, was excavated in the 1970s and revealed extensive Clovis technology.
Native Americans relied upon the area of Warren County because of its availability in stone, but also because of its abundance in wildlife and water. Paleoindians set up a base camp at the Thunderbird site, and this site was in use for 2,000 years, thus suggesting that it was one of Virginia’s first industrial sites. The site also revealed that the Paleoindians of Virginia were well-traveled hunters who interacted with many people. The Paleoindians used the Clovis point in hunting large game, such as the mastodon.
The Archaic Period: 7 thousand 900 years ago — 1 thousand 500 years ago: As time went on the Archaic Period evolved. The climate began to warm, and produced forest with fruits and nuts. Large animals such as the mastodon became extinct. The climate change caused early Native Americans to hunt smaller animals, such as deer. The large Clovis point was replaced with a smaller, more rounded point, and families began to settle specific village sites in the forested area, developing permanent hunting grounds. Unlike the Paleoindians who mosdy traveled to Virginia to make Clovis point tools, the warming of the environment created stability in the Archaic Period, leading to an increase in population. As Virginia’s population grew, early Native Americans began to settle in different regions of Virginia: Blue Ridge Mountain, Shenandoah Valley, Piedmont, and Coastal/Tidewater.
The Woodland Period: 1 thousand 500 years ago — 1492: The coming of the Woodland Period can be explained by the appearance of cord-marked or fabric-marked pottery, early agriculture, and burial mounds. It also brought with it the use of the bow and arrow, houses, and other aspects of material culture. The people of the Shenandoah Valley during this time were building mound burials and living in villages along the rivers. Corn and squash were an important part of their diet. The mound burial culture grew, and by the middle of the Woodland Period, Native Americans were creating specialized items, such as animal carvings. These creations helped accord social status among some people. By the late Woodland period, the Native American culture had bursting economies and village based agriculture. Tribal leaders appeared, along with beads, fishhooks, larger houses, and a proliferation of ceremonial objects.
Front Royal Kiwanis Club 5K Race to benefit the Warren County Special Olympics
WHAT MATTERS Warren: Front Royal Kiwanis Club 5K Race to benefit the Warren County Special Olympics this Saturday, May 18, 2019.
- Time: 9:00AM – 10:30AM
- Price: $15
- Location: 465 W 15th St | Front Royal, VA 22630
Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Participation results in improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence, and a more positive self image. It also provides an opportunity to socialize in a safe and accepting environment. These programs are offered at no cost to the athlete or their family and now YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT THIS WORTHY CAUSE! You can sign up to run via the link below and/or please contact Carol Olson, Assistant Coordinator Warren County Special Olympics @ 540 622-4443 to make a donation or to offer to volunteer at gatherings!
Description (source: https://runsignup.com/Race/VA/FrontRoyal)
- When & Where: The 5k run starts at 9:00 am at the Warren County Health & Human Services Complex (the former 15th Street School; same location as in previous years!) in Front Royal, Virginia. Race day registration and check- in begin at 8:00 am in the east parking lot. Benefits Warren County Special Olympics.
- Course: A measured 5k (3.1 mile) route on paved roads through the northwestern part of Front Royal and the grounds of Randolph-Macon Academy. Mile 1 is downhill or flat; mile 2 is mostly uphill; and the final 1.1 miles are rolling.
- Awards: For the top three men & women overall and the top three in the following age groups: 14 & under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60 & over.
- Entry Fees: $15 (without t-shirt) if postmarked by 8 May. $20 on race day. Add on a t-shirt for $8 during the registration process and the total fee will be $23 with the t-shirt (must be pre-ordered by May 8th). $1.00 discount for Kiwanis or SVR.
- Directions: The Warren County Health & Human Services Complex is at 500 West 15th Street in Front Royal, VA Take I-66 to exit 6 (Routes 340/522) and head south toward Front Royal. In I. 9 miles, tum right at a stoplight onto West 14th Street. 0.3 miles later, turn right onto Massanutten Avenue. At the stop sign in one block, turn right onto West 15th Street and park in the lot on your left.
- Race Contact Info: If you have any questions about this race, please contact the race director at firstname.lastname@example.org
SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL OF THE SPONSORS & SUPPORTERS, especially to the GOLD Sponsors:
Arc of Warren County, Liberty Tax Service, Blue Ridge Education Center, Royal Family Bowling Center, Apple Valley Dental Group, Craig Zunka, DDS, Bill Powers State Farm Insurance, Phoenix Project
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Warren’s Heritage: Native American History-Part 5
In covering the Native American history of Virginia for this series we have consulted many sources, from long-published texts to new books, as well as relevant internet sites, and would like to take
this opportunity to share some of what we have found with you the reader.
To learn more about the Native Peoples of Virginia on the internet, we advise visiting one of the following sites: Virginia’s Indians, Past and Present , Virginia’s First People and the state government’s Virginia Council on Indians. These sites contain a wealth of good beginning and basic information on Native Virginians, and also have links to other sites of interest, including for all eight of Virginia’s state recognized tribes.
Books on Native Virginians are many in number, are excellent resources and can be found at public libraries or ordered through bookstores. In addition to the books that we will here mention, one can find numerous other accounts of the colonial settlement of Virginia in the 1600s that include drawings and information on Native peoples of the period. Considered some of the best and most accurate drawings depicting Native Algonquian peoples of the tidewater region are John White’s 1580s drawings (commonly seen in the form of their 1590 reproduction by Theodor de Bry). These drawings portray every aspect of Native life along the coast of North Carolina and Virginia, from village living patters to how dinner was served. “First People: The Early Indians of Virginia” by Keith Egloff and Deborah Woodward is an introduction to the history of Native peoples in Virginia as discovered through archaeology and original documents of explorers and colonists, and
To read on the conflicts developing between Native Virginians and the encroaching colonists, D.A. Tisdale’s “Soldiers of the Virginia Colony: 1607-1699” describes the fortifications, armament and tactics used by the colonists in their wars against the Indians, and in the process explains in good background detail what led to each of those conflicts. The “History of the Dividing Line” by William Byrd is a classic in the study of Virginia history, and includes descriptions by Byrd of the Native peoples and colonists he encounters. The book is a diary of his journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Blue Ridge Mountains while surveying the border between Virginia and North Carolina in 1728.
Two books about North Carolina help immensely in understanding the lives of Virginia’s Native peoples in the 1500s and 1600s, as the modern borders of our states had little bearing on the
geographic dispersion of native peoples, and the eastern woodlands subsistence strategies, religious worship, political and social mores and even clothing and hair styles among Virginia’s Native peoples were often shared with Native peoples from the Carolinas and Maryland. The first is John Lawson’s “A New Voyage to Carolina,” Lawson’s diary and descriptions of his travels through the coast and hinterlands of South Carolina and North Carolina in 1701, returning to the coast of North Carolina along a route paralleling the current state boundaries between North Carolina and Virginia. Describing the Native peoples along the way in fascinating and often entertaining detail, Lawson describes a moving scene at one point in Eno Town (an Occaneechi village near present-day Chapel Hill and Durham), where an elderly Indian asks Lawson to take his son with him to the English settlements and to teach him the English language and Christian religion. The old man tells Lawson that he himself is too old to change his way of life, culture and beliefs, but he sees that the future holds little for those of his people who maintain their traditional ways. This sad prophecy would come true for the Occaneechi and other Native peoples of North Carolina and Virginia soon enough; in Virginia during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 and in the Carolinas during the Tuscarora War of 1711-1714.
Finally, Roanoke Island: The Beginnings of English America” by David Stick is a detailed yet easily readable account of the English colonization of Roanoke Island and the Albemarle Sound in what is today North Carolina but what in the 1580s was Virginia. English colonial relations with the local indigenous population is born here and continued at Jamestown which, had the Roanoke Island colony been successful, may not have been the first permanent English settlement in the New World. From this short book the reader is informed through original documents, diaries and accounts of the fact that the Roanoke colonists were aware of and even visited the Chesapeake Bay, and, probably more telling, that the Chesapeake Bay’s Native peoples were keenly aware of the colonists, their behavior and the potential threats they could pose. By the time Jamestown was finally planted, Native peoples of Virginia had been living with stories of, visits from and even attacks by Europeans for a century.
Warren’s Heritage: Native American History-Part 3
Yesterday in our series on Native peoples of Virginia we completed a brief look at the history of the eight state-recognized tribes of Virginia and the locations they still call home, beginning with the Mattaponi and Upper Mattaponi, Chickahominy and Eastern Chickahominy, Rappahannock and Pamunkey. Today we will conclude this review with the Nansemond of Tidewater and the Monacan Nation of the Piedmont.
The Nansemond Tribe today lives in the cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake (remember when Suffolk City used to be Nansemond County before 1972?) The Nansemond were a tribe of the Powhatan,
and very early in the 1600s were driven away from their farmland along the Nansemond River. They held reservation lands in Virginia until 1792, at which point these lands reverted to the state and the Nansemond existed as a community, albeit unorganized, for the next 130 years. In the 1920s the Nansemond reorganized and today claim around 300 tribal members, and are planning a museum on the Nansemond River.
The Monacan Indian Nation is the eighth and most recent Native American tribe in Virginia to receive state recognition, earning that officially in 1989. Centered at the community of Bear Mountain in Amherst County, Virginia, south of Charlottesville, the Monacans have a presence historically and still today in the counties of Nelson, Bedford, Albemarle and other adjoining counties. Not of the Algonquin speaking Powhatan, the Siouan speaking Monacan were related and/or allied to the Saponi and Occaneechi of southern Virginia and the Tuscarora of North Carolina. Today’s Saponi and Occaneechi tribes are centered in the northern piedmont of North Carolina and the Tuscarora removed almost completely to New York, but in the 1700s some of the survivors of these marginalized tribes moved to live amongst the Monacans.
The Monacans very likely also absorbed the Manhoacs, a tribe reported by John Smith in 1607 to be living along the headwaters of the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers, in what today are the western parts of Rappahannock and Fauquier Counties, bordering Warren County. The Manahoacs in all probability traversed what is now Warren County — especially to gain access to the Flint Run area of the Fork District, where stone for arrow and spear points was quarried – and quite possibly resided here, making today’s Monacan Indian Nation a descendant population at some level of the original inhabitants of our immediate area.
Always distrustful of the English, and living farther west in Virginia than the Powhatan, the Monacans avoided contact when possible with the colonists from their first contact in 1607 with Jamestown explorers to the 1760s, at which time settlement had encroached into every part of their homeland in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge along the James River. Thomas Jefferson
recorded a visit of Monacans to Monticello, the guests paying respects at a cemetery burial mound of their people that had become part of the Jefferson property. Jefferson eventually excavated this mound, acquiring in the process the reputation of being the “Father of Archaeology in America.”
During the 1700s some Monacans migrated west or north, but a Monacan community along the upper James River always remained. The Monacans worked tobacco near Lynchburg for generations in the 1800s, preserving their community identity all the while, but it was in the 1920s that Virginia laws passed that prohibited the intermarriage of Indians and Whites and prohibited Indians from identifying themselves legally drove many Monacans away from Virginia, those remaining no longer living as openly as Indians. The modern rebirth of the Monacan Nation is drawing attention to this fascinating Native American community in the heart of Virginia who, since recorded history in Virginia has occupied the same homeland along the upper James River.
Warren’s Heritage: Native American History-Part 2
So who has made the roster of officially recognized tribes in the Commonwealth of Virginia? The first two have already been mentioned in this column, and they are the Mattaponi and
Pamunkey, the only two of the eight state recognized tribes to still have official reservation lands. The Mattaponi reservation is located in King William County along the Mattaponi River that is the
northern boundary of that county. The village of Mattaponi, a clearing in the woods overlooking the Mattaponi River from a cliff, has about 60 residents, although the tribe’s membership roster has over 450 members. A small museum and cultural programming help maintain the Mattaponi sense of community identity. One of the most well-known members of the Mattaponi tribe, incidentally, is singer and entertainer Wayne Newton. An interesting feature of the tribe’s name, given to the river of their ancestral home, is that as one traces the origins of the Mattaponi River upstream from King William County, the tributaries of the river become named for syllables of the Mattaponi name. The first division of the river is into the Matta and Poni Rivers in Caroline County and ultimately in Spotsylvania County into the Mat, the Ta, the Po and the Ni Rivers — look for this odd phenomenon the next time you are on 1-95 between Fredericksburg and Richmond, as the river names are noted on interstate road signs.
The Pamunkey reservation, also in King William County in a wide bend of the Pamunkey River, is a much larger reservation in acres but has a smaller permanent resident population, as most of the land is bottom land under cultivation. About 32 families live on or own land in the reservation The Pamunkey Reservation has a museum as well with artifacts recovered from archaeological digs in the area, and on the reservation is the burial place of and monument to the mighty Powhatan, father of the legendary Pocahontas and lord of the Powhatan Confederacy at the dawn of Jamestown’s settlement in the early 1600s. The Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers meet at the town of West Point at the eastern end of King William County, where they become the York River. Both the Mattaponi and Pamunkey received official state recognition in 1983.
Closely related to the Mattaponi and Pamunkey are the Upper Mattaponi and Rappahannock tribes, also descended from the Algonquin speaking Powhatan Confederacy and also receiving state
recognition in 1983. The Upper Mattaponi are descended from a group of Mattaponi living in the Adamstown area of King William County, where during the early 1700s they had an official British
interpreter (by the name of Adams) living amongst them. The Upper Mattaponi incorporated with the state as a tribal entity in 1921, although not receiving state recognition for another 62 years. They do not have a formal reservation but have set aside acreage that serves their community as communally held lands.
The Rappahannock today, like the Upper Mattaponi, hold a private land trust for their community in lieu of a reservation. In the late 1600s, however, they did briefly have a legally recognized and
granted 4000 acre reservation along the Rappahannock River set aside for them by the colonial government, this land being abandoned and ceasing to exist as a separate reservation during
disruptive raids by the Iroquois. The Rappahannock were in Captain John Smith’s time a large and prosperous tribe of the Powhatan Confederacy, occupying 13 known towns along the Rappahannock River. Today’s Rappahannock tribe, recognized in 1983 by the state, is in King and Queen County which lies just north of King William County in between the Mattaponi and Rappahannock Rivers.
South of King William County, across the Pamunkey River, are the counties of New Kent and Charles City, homes today to the Eastern Chickahominy and Chickahominy Tribes, respectively. The
Eastern Chickahominy are a group of about 150 members who maintain in New Kent County educational and social events for their tribal membership, and received state recognition in 1983. The
Eastern Chickahominy consider themselves a division of the Chickahominy, both tribes descending from the Powhatan Confederacy.
Also receiving state recognition in 1983, the Chickahominy Tribe is centered in Charles City County in between the James River and Chickahominy River, about 25 miles east of Richmond. At one
point in the early 1600s the tribe had a treaty obligation with the English colonists to provide soldiers in case of Spanish attack for the defense of Jamestown. The Chickahominy later in the 1600s migrated south of the James River when the colonists at Jamestown began expanding and confiscating more Indian land, but by the 1700s were migrating back to their ancestral home on the north banks of the James and along the Chickahominy. Today the tribe maintains 25,000 acres of land and has a 750 member community living within a five-mile radius of one another.
Warren’s Heritage: Native American History-Part 1
The Spanish mission to the Chesapeake Bay — an attempt to convert Native Americans and extend their colonization of the eastern seaboard — had ended in a massacre of the mission in 1571. The English claim to North America was as of yet not enforced by a presence on the ground, and the Spanish were preparing for war with the English. Native Americans throughout Virginia and the southeast had learned to be wary of and even hostile towards Europeans, having suffered disease and attack at the hands of early explorers.
This is the environment into which Sir Walter Raleigh’s famous Roanoke Island settlement attempts were made in the 1580s. A part of England’s Virginia claim in the 1500s, Roanoke Island is today in North Carolina, and has come to be known throughout American history as the “Lost Colony” (one of the colony’s internal explorative expeditions came by river into what is now Southside Virginia around 1580). Raleigh’s agents demanded the Native peoples supply their colony with food and sometimes killed Native leaders as a means of intimidating surrounding villages.
When the Spanish Armada’s attempted invasion of England stalled Raleigh’s resupply efforts for almost two years, the colonists were never seen or heard from again. After the 1607 founding of Jamestown an attempt was made to locate these people, but it was unsuccessful except in leaving the impression that the colonists had disbanded and the survivors intermarried with the area’s Native peoples.
1607 was a watershed year for Native peoples of Virginia and the southeast, as the small contingent of Europeans that made their way to the Chesapeake Bay stayed on permanently this time despite dying off in large numbers annually from malaria, malnutrition and warfare. Virginia the colony began to grow irrevocably into the lands of Virginia’s Native population, who coped in a variety of ways. One method of coping was to fight. The Algonquian speaking Powhatan Confederacy under Chiefs Powhatan and later Opechancanough famously made war on the English, then peace, then war — and the English responded in kind, sometimes expanding their relations peaceably, sometimes through burning Powhatan villages. The Powhatan under Opechancanough on March 22, 1622 attacked the colonists in Virginia, killing at least 10% of the entire settler population in one day, but the English kept immigrating and the conflict’s resolution became a matter of time, as every year more and more people streamed into Virginia from Europe and Africa.
Other methods of coping with the colonization of their homelands were for Native peoples to acculturate to the new language and ways of the settler, or to remove themselves physically and attempt to find shelter farther west from colonial expansion. By the former method, many Native peoples became part of the general population, forming communities isolated from other Virginians (this generally occurred along the colony’s borderlands, such as with the Occoneechi, Saponi and Nansemond who lived and still live between Virginia and North Carolina and the Shawnee who came to settle briefly in the Shenandoah Valley) or intermarrying within colonial society.
By the mid-1700s Native peoples in Virginia east of the Blue Ridge were almost entirely English-speaking, had adopted the farmstead in place of the village, become Protestant Christians of one denomination or anther (usually Baptist or Methodist), dressed as the English colonists and were generally indistinguishable from them except for their physical appearance. By the latter method, many of Virginia’s Native peoples pushed on into the mountains of what is now West Virginia (where the Melungeon heritage, as Appalachian communities of Native American ancestry have become known, still has a very strong presence today), the Shawnee withdrawing to Indiana by the 1760s and the Cherokee to Tennessee by the 1790s.
By the mid to late 1600s the Powhatan villages were generally making a reluctant peace and permanent accommodation with the colonists. Into our collective past went the story of Powhatan’s famous daughter Pocahontas, whose life experiences have become an important part of Virginia history. Today two descendant groups of the Powhatan Confederacy occupy reservations in Virginia — the Mattaponi and Pamunkey of King William County (located in Tidewater, Virginia, an hour east of Richmond). Recognized by Virginia’s House of Burgesses in 1658, these are the oldest Indian Reservations in what has become the United States. Whereas the “Praying Towns” created by the New England colonists for the purpose of converting the Native peoples of that area were similar in that they confined certain groups of people to certain lands, Praying Towns were small villages without political independence.
The Mattaponi and Pamunkey, however, have since 1646 upheld a treaty with the governor of Virginia in order to maintain their ancestral lands. On the fourth Wednesday of every November (for 349 years by 2005) the Mattaponi and Pamunkey present wild game as gifts to the governor of Virginia — and if this ceremony sounds familiar it is worth remembering that Virginia experienced the first official celebration of Thanksgiving, well before New Englanders began making this a habit.