The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes


– THEN, IN 1658,
THE VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY ESTABLISHED THE MATTAPONI
INDIAN RESERVATION, AND THE TRIBE STILL
LIVES THERE TODAY. YES, DELLA? – YOU MEAN THAT THERE’S NATIVE
AMERICANS ALIVE IN VIRGINIA? – YES, ABSOLUTELY.
– YEAH, LIKE ME. – WHAT? YOU DON’T LOOK NATIVE, AND YOU LIVE, LIKE,
TWO HOUSES OVER FROM ME. – DELLA, NOT ALL
VIRGINIA INDIANS LIVE ON RESERVATIONS OR WEAR
CEREMONIAL CLOTHES. KEENAN IS ACTUALLY A MEMBER
OF THE CHICKAHOMINY TRIBE. – REALLY? SO RIGHT NOW THERE’S
MORE THAN ONE TRIBE IN VIRGINIA? – YEAH, RIGHT NOW THERE ARE 11
DIFFERENT VIRGINIA INDIAN TRIBES RECOGNIZED BY THE STATE
OF VIRGINIA. THERE IS MY TRIBE–
THE CHICKAHOMINY– AND THE EASTERN CHICKAHOMINY. THERE IS ALSO THE MATTAPONI,
THE PAMUNKEY, THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
THE UPPER MATTAPONI, THE NANSEMOND,
THE MONACAN INDIAN NATION, THE CHEROENHAKA NOTTOWAY, THE NOTTOWAY OF VIRGINIA, AND THE PATAWOMECK. – WOW! I’LL NEVER REMEMBER
ALL THOSE NAMES. – BUT NOW YOU KNOW
THERE ARE A LOT OF US. – OK, BUT AREN’T ALL THE TRIBES
PRETTY MUCH THE SAME? – WELL, EVEN THOUGH
ALL VIRGINIA INDIANS HAVE SOME SIMILAR BELIEFS
AND HISTORIES, EACH TRIBE HAS THEIR OWN
CULTURES AND TRADITIONS.
NO TWO ARE THE SAME. – KEENAN, WOULD YOU TELL
THE CLASS A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT EACH TRIBE? – OK. WELL, RIGHT NOW, THERE ARE TWO TRIBES
THAT HAVE RESERVATIONS: THE MATTAPONI AND THE PAMUNKEY. THEY SIGNED TREATIES
WITH ENGLAND BACK IN THE 1600s. THE MATTAPONI RESERVATION
IS IN KING WILLIAM COUNTY. – WHY IS IT CALLED
A RESERVATION? – A RESERVATION IS LAND
THAT HAS BEEN SET ASIDE FOR TRIBAL MEMBERS
TO LIVE OR GATHER FOR EVENTS. – WE KNEW THAT THAT LAND,
THAT LAND WAS OUR IDENTITY TO HELP US HOLD
ON TO WHO WE WERE. AND OUR FOREFATHERS TOLD US
AND THEY TELL US TO THIS DAY, “WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT LET GO
OF THIS LAND,” AND WE DO NOT. – EVERY YEAR, WE HAVE
A POWWOW AND WE DANCE AND WE DRUM, AND IT SHOWS
OUR TRADITIONS. I’M PROUD THAT WE LIVE HERE. – ON THE RESERVATION TODAY,
THE MATTAPONI TRIBE HAS HOUSES, A CHURCH, A MUSEUM,
A MARINE SCIENCE CENTER, AND EVEN A FISH HATCHERY.
– WHAT’S A FISH HATCHERY? – IT’S A BUILDING
WHERE PEOPLE RAISE FISH. THE MATTAPONI RAISE
AMERICAN SHAD, AND THEY ALSO TAG FISH,
WATCH THE WATER QUALITY, AND WORK WITH SCHOOLS
AND OTHER PEOPLE IN THE AREA TO KEEP THE WATER
CLEAN AND HEALTHY. – SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK. – IT IS, BUT RAISING SHAD IS
IMPORTANT TO THE MATTAPONI BECAUSE THEIR ANCESTORS
USED THE FISH AS ONE OF THE MAIN
THINGS THEY ATE. THE PAMUNKEY WORK HARD
TO KEEP A FISH HATCHERY ON THEIR RESERVATION, TOO. THE PAMUNKEY TRIBE ALSO RAISES
SHAD IN KING WILLIAM COUNTY. – WITH OUR HATCHERY,
WE MILK THE MALE SHAD AND SQUEEZE THE EGGS
OUT OF THE FEMALE SHAD, MIX THEM TOGETHER, AND THEN
THEY GROW IN THE HATCHERY UNTIL THEY’RE BIG ENOUGH, AND WE SHOOT THEM BACK OUT IN THE RIVER BECAUSE THEY HAVE BECOME
ENDANGERED–THE AMERICAN SHAD– SO THAT’S WHY THE HATCHERY,
BUT ALWAYS THE FISHING. WE’RE MODERNIZED NOW,
BUT WE NEVER FORGOT WHAT WE HAD LEARNED
BY OUR ANCESTORS. – THE PAMUNKEY RESERVATION ALSO
HAS A MUSEUM, WHICH HAS EXAMPLES OF ONE OF THE TRIBE’S
OLDEST TRADITIONS–POTTERY. – THEY STILL MAKE POTTERY? – YEAH, THE PAMUNKEY HAVE
STARTED A POTTERY SCHOOL, AND THEY TRY TO FIX ANCIENT POTS
MADE BY THEIR ANCESTORS. – WE GET OUR CLAY RIGHT
FROM THE RIVER, AND WE PROCESS IT
SO IT’S READY. THEN THERE’S TEMPER, AND THAT’S PUT INTO THE CLAY SO IT’LL BE FIRED. STILL TODAY, OUR POTTERY
WILL LAST IN A FIRE PIT FOR 50 YEARS OR MORE. – HOW LONG HAVE THE PAMUNKEY
BEEN MAKING POTTERY? – NO ONE KNOWS
WHEN THEY STARTED, BUT IT WAS A LONG TIME
BEFORE JAMESTOWN WAS BUILT. – IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE
PLASTIC BAGGIES OR CONTAINERS, THEN YOU NEEDED TO MAKE
YOUR OWN CONTAINERS. THESE POTS WERE VERY
BEAUTIFUL AND PRACTICAL. – THAT’S RIGHT, BUT NO MATTER
WHAT THE PAMUNKEY INDIANS MADE, IT WAS ALWAYS HERE IN VIRGINIA. – WE’VE NEVER MIGRATED
OR NEVER RELOCATED ANYWHERE. WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN HERE, AND WE
LIVE ON OUR ANCESTRAL GROUNDS TODAY JUST LIKE WE DID THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO. – WHEN THE COLONISTS CAME FROM ENGLAND, THE PAMUNKEY WERE ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TRIBES IN THE POWHATAN ALLIANCE. – WHAT WAS THE POWHATAN ALLIANCE? – THE ALLIANCE WAS MADE UP OF MANY TRIBES THAT LIVED IN THE AREA AROUND JAMESTOWN. THIS ALLIANCE WAS LED BY POWHATAN,
THE FATHER OF POCAHONTAS. – YEAH, I’VE HEARD
OF POCAHONTAS. – RIGHT, AND POWHATAN
LIVED MOST OF THE YEAR IN A PLACE CALLED WEROWOCOMOCO,
ALONG THE YORK RIVER. “WEROWANS” MEANS “CHIEF” AND “KOMAKAH” MEANS “SETTLEMENT.” – ANOTHER IMPORTANT TRIBE
THAT WAS ALLIED WITH POWHATAN WAS MY TRIBE, THE CHICKAHOMINY. WHEN JAMESTOWN WAS FIRST BUILT,
A TRIBE LIVED CLOSE BY AT THE MOUTH OF
THE CHICKAHOMINY RIVER, BUT NOW MOST OF THEM LIVE
AROUND CHARLES CITY COUNTY. – WHEN THE SETTLERS ARRIVED,
THEY WERE GREETED BY UPWARDS
OF 35 TRIBES, WHO, INDIGENOUS TO
THIS AREA, AMONG THEM WERE
THE CHICKAHOMINY INDIANS. – DID THOSE TRIBES
TRY TO KICK OUT THE SETTLERS
BECAUSE THEY LIVED SO CLOSE? – ACTUALLY, THE CHICKAHOMINY
AND OTHER TRIBES TRADED WITH
THE SETTLERS AND SHOWED THEM HOW TO PLANT
CORN AND TOBACCO. IN FACT, CHICKAHOMINY MEANS
“PEOPLE OF THE COARSE-POUNDED CORN.” – WE NOT ONLY WILL DO FOR OUR OWN PEOPLE, WE’LL DO FOR OTHER PEOPLE THAT ARE IN NEED. I THINK THAT’S ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS THAT WE COULD SAY ABOUT THE INDIAN PEOPLE,
IS THEY WILL HELP OTHER PEOPLE. – WHILE POWHATAN WAS
THE LEADER OF MANY TRIBES, THE CHICKAHOMINY HAD THEIR OWN
TRIBAL COUNCIL UNDER HIM. TODAY, THEY ARE STILL LED BY A TRIBAL COUNCIL OF 12 MEN AND WOMEN. IN THE COUNCIL, THEY HAVE A CHIEF AND TWO ASSISTANT CHIEFS. ALL OF THEM ARE ELECTED BY VOTES
FROM THE TRIBE’S MEMBERS. – HUH. THAT’S LIKE THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, THE PRESIDENT, AND THE VICE PRESIDENT. – THAT’S RIGHT, AND THE SAME IS TRUE FOR THE CHICKAHOMINY TRIBE EASTERN DIVISION. THE EASTERN CHICKAHOMINY TRIBE
IS LOCATED IN NEW KENT COUNTY. – AND THEY HAVE A GOVERNMENT
LIKE THE CHICKAHOMINY TRIBE? – RIGHT, AND ALL THE LEADERS ARE
ELECTED BY TRIBAL MEMBERS. UNDERSTANDING HOW GOVERNMENTS
WORK IS IMPORTANT SO THAT THE TRIBES CAN WORK WITH
THE VIRGINIA STATE GOVERNMENT AND THE UNITED STATES
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SOMETIMES TRIBES EVEN WORK
WITH OTHER COUNTRIES. THE EASTERN CHICKAHOMINY ELECTED A NEW CHIEF AROUND THE SAME TIME THEY MADE A TRIP TO ENGLAND, WHERE THEY TAUGHT ABOUT THEIR TRIBE. – MY COUSIN STEPPED UP
AS THE CHIEF OF THE TRIBE, AND HE RESIGNED AND THAT’S
WHERE I PICKED IT UP. MY FIRST TRIP TO ENGLAND WAS
THE FIRST TIME I WAS A CHIEF.
[CHUCKLES] – SO WHAT MAKES THE
EASTERN DIVISION DIFFERENT
FROM THE OTHER CHICKAHOMINY? – THEY WERE ACTUALLY BOTH
ONE TRIBE UNTIL THE EARLY 1900s. THE EASTERN CHICKAHOMINY DECIDED TO MAKE THEIR OWN TRIBAL GOVERNMENT BECAUSE IT WAS TOO FAR TO TRAVEL ALL THE WAY TO CHARLES CITY COUNTY FOR TRIBAL MEETINGS. – SO DO THEY LIVE
ON A RESERVATION? – NO, MOST VIRGINIA INDIANS
NO LONGER HAVE RESERVATIONS, BUT THEY DO HAVE AREAS THAT
THEY THINK ARE THE LAND OF
THEIR ANCESTORS, LIKE THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
WHO HAVE BEEN BUYING PROPERTY
AROUND THEIR HISTORIC LANDS. THE RAPPAHANNOCK TRIBE IS
IN KING AND QUEEN COUNTY, AND THEY ELECTED ANNE RICHARDSON
AS CHIEF IN 1998. SINCE THEN,
THE RAPPAHANNOCK HAVE BOUGHT
OVER A HUNDRED ACRES OF LAND. – WE’VE PURCHASED SOME LAND
WITHIN OUR TRIBAL BASE. WE’RE TAKING THAT LAND BACK FOR
THE TRIBE’S POSSESSION, FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT,
FOR HOUSING, AND CULTURAL
DEVELOPMENT. – WHY IS LAND SO IMPORTANT
TO THESE TRIBES? – MANY VIRGINIA INDIANS BELIEVE THE EARTH IS SACRED AND A BLESSING FROM THE GREAT SPIRIT. – WE OPERATED AND LIVED OFF
OF THE LAND AND BY THE LAND, AND SO WE HAVE A PHILOSOPHY THAT
IF THE LAND IS DEFILED AND SICK, THE PEOPLE BECOME DEFILED AND SICK. – THE LAND IS IMPORTANT TO VIRGINIA INDIANS BECAUSE IT HELPS THEM HOLD ON TO THEIR HERITAGE
AND ANCIENT TRADITIONS. – WE ARE DOING CLASSES
ON ALL THE VARIOUS TRADITIONS, AND CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT
THE TRADITION AND THE MEANINGS. THEY’RE TAUGHT TRIBAL VALUES
SO THAT THEY KNOW WHAT’S REAL TO THEM IN THE WORLD
AND WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO THEM. – AND THE UPPER MATTAPONI
ALSO TEACH TRIBAL VALUES. THE UPPER MATTAPONI TRIBE IS
IN KING WILLIAM COUNTY. – ARE THEY RELATED
TO THE MATTAPONI TRIBE? – WELL, BOTH TRIBES LIVED ALONG
THE MATTAPONI RIVER, BUT THE UPPER MATTAPONI LIVED
FARTHER NORTH. IN 1919, THEY BUILT A ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE CALLED THE SHARON INDIAN SCHOOL. IN THE 1960s, BECAUSE
OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, VIRGINIA INDIANS WERE ALLOWED TO GO TO VIRGINIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS. – SHARON INDIAN SCHOOL IS ONE
OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS
OF OUR HISTORY BECAUSE IT LED OUR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO GET A FORMAL EDUCATION AT A TIME WHEN IT WAS VERY
DIFFICULT FOR ANY OF OUR PEOPLE TO GET ANY SORT
OF FORMAL EDUCATION AT ALL. THEY WERE ABLE TO GET THROUGH
THE SEVENTH AND EIGHTH GRADE, AND MANY OF THEM WERE ABLE
TO GO ON AND GET A COLLEGE
EDUCATION BECAUSE OF THAT. – MOST VIRGINIA INDIANS
WANT TO GIVE THEIR KIDS
A GOOD EDUCATION. THEY WANT THEM TO GO TO COLLEGE AND GET JOBS THAT THE PARENTS COULDN’T GET. – ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
I FEEL PRETTY STRONGLY ABOUT
THE UPPER MATTAPONI TRIBE IS THAT WE WERE REALLY, REALLY SIGNIFICANT IN TRYING TO REACH OUT AND GET OUR PEOPLE HIGHER EDUCATION. – SOME PROGRAMS HAVE EVEN BEEN MADE TO SHOW VIRGINIA INDIAN KIDS THE GOOD THINGS
ABOUT GOING TO COLLEGE. THESE PROGRAMS WANT TO HELP
ALL OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS
IN VIRGINIA, LIKE THE NANSEMOND. THEIR TRIBE LIVES NEAR
THE CITIES OF SUFFOLK
AND CHESAPEAKE. THE NANSEMOND WOULD LIKE
TO BUILD A COPY OF ONE
OF THEIR ANCIENT VILLAGES CALLED MATTANOCK, WHICH WILL
HAVE A MUSEUM, HIKING TRAILS, A PLACE FOR POWWOWS,
A CAMP SITE, A TRIBAL CENTER, AND EVEN GROUNDS TO RE-BURY
ANCIENT SKELETONS. IT’S A REALLY BIG PROJECT
FOR THESE AMERICAN INDIANS. – HEY, KEENAN?
– YEAH? – IS IT OK THAT WE’RE SAYING “INDIAN” AND NOT “NATIVE AMERICAN”? – WELL, “INDIAN” WOULD ACTUALLY MEAN SOMEONE
FROM THE COUNTRY OF INDIA, BUT “NATIVE AMERICANS” OR “AMERICAN INDIANS” COULD BOTH BE USED TO DESCRIBE THIS COUNTRY’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, AND “VIRGINIA INDIANS” WOULD DESCRIBE THE STATE’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE WHO HAD LIVED HERE
BEFORE THE EUROPEANS ARRIVED HAVE BEEN CALLED BY
MANY NAMES THAT WERE GIVEN
TO DESCRIBE WHO WE ARE. – “NATIVE AMERICAN,”
“AMERICAN INDIAN,”
“INDIGENOUS PEOPLE”– ANYTHING THAT I’M SEEN AS,
AS LONG AS IT’S SEEN AS SOMETHING RESPECTFUL,
I DON’T HAVE A PREFERENCE. THE WAY I WAS RAISED,
TO BE PROUD OF WHAT I AM
NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE CALL YOU. – THAT MAKES SENSE. THANKS. – SURE. WE LIKE TO TEACH PEOPLE
ABOUT OUR CULTURES. – I WANT TO SEE FURTHER
EDUCATION OF OUR HERITAGE, OF OUR CULTURE, OF OUR RESPECT FOR THE EARTH, FOR THE CREATOR, AND AN UNDERSTANDING
OF WHERE WE COME FROM AND WHAT WE ARE,
WHAT WE RESPECT, WHAT WE WANT TO MAINTAIN
AS OUR CULTURE, AND PRESERVE THIS
FOR THE FUTURE GENERATIONS. – SO THAT’S WHY THEY WANT
TO BUILD MATTANOCK. – THAT’S RIGHT, AND IT’S GOING
TO TAKE A LOT OF LAND. ANOTHER TRIBE THAT USED TO HAVE
A LOT OF LAND IS THE MONACAN INDIAN NATION. THE MONACAN INDIAN NATION
IS IN AMHERST COUNTY, BUT A LONG TIME AGO,
THE MONACAN CONTROLLED HALF OF THE LAND THAT WOULD
BECOME VIRGINIA. – WOW! SO THERE WERE
A LOT OF THEM? – STILL ARE, WITH ABOUT
1,400 MEMBERS. RIGHT NOW, THE MONACAN
OWN A LARGE PIECE OF LAND
ON BEAR MOUNTAIN, WHERE THEY HAVE THEIR
TRIBAL MUSEUM, SCHOOL, CHURCH, CULTURAL CENTER,
AND EVEN BURIAL GROUNDS. – KIND OF CREEPY TO LIVE
NEAR A BURIAL GROUND. – NO, ACTUALLY THE MONACAN BLESS THIS GROUND SO THAT THE LAND IS VERY SACRED
AND SPIRITUAL TO THEM. – OUR PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN
A CULTURE OF FOLKS WHO HONOR
THEIR ANCESTORS. WE WERE THE MOUND BUILDERS
IN VIRGINIA, AND THERE ARE STILL SEVERAL MOUNDS
THROUGHOUT VIRGINIA THAT CONTAIN THE REMAINS
OF OUR ANCESTORS. – BLESSING BURIAL GROUNDS IS
SOMETHING THEY HAVE BEEN DOING
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. – SCHOLARS SAY
WE’VE PROBABLY BEEN HERE
10,000 YEARS, MAYBE LONGER. IF YOU ASK OUR ELDERS, THEY’LL
SAY WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN HERE. – ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE
RECENTLY FOUND ARTIFACTS
THAT MAKE THEM THINK PEOPLE LIVED HERE
18,000 YEARS AGO. – AND THEN WE GOT
1, 2, 3, 4 BLADES, TWO PIECES OF A POINT
THAT FIT TOGETHER. THESE PROBABLY HAVE NOT MOVED
IN MORE THAN 13,500 YEARS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE STONE
AND THE RAW MATERIAL
AND THE TYPE OF TOOLS AND THINGS THAT THEY
WERE MAKING, THEY WERE
WELL-ESTABLISHED HERE. – SINCE THEY HAVE BEEN HERE
FOR SO MANY YEARS, THEY HAVE
FORMED MANY TRADITIONS, LIKE THE MONACAN, WHO HAD
A SPECIAL ROLE FOR WOMEN. – WE ARE MATRILINEAL. THAT MEANS WE BELONG TO OUR MOTHER’S CLAN, NOT OUR FATHER’S. – WOMEN WERE THE MATRIARCHS
AMONG OUR PEOPLE, AND THEY WERE NOT SLAVES OR SERVANTS TO THE MEN OF THE TRIBE. WE COULD WORK IN THE FIELDS,
WE COULD SKIN, WE COULD HUNT, WE COULD DO
ALL THOSE THINGS. AMONG MY PEOPLE, WE OWNED
THE PROPERTY AND THE HOUSE
THAT WE LIVED IN, AND THE MAN ONLY OWNED WHAT
HE WORE AND THE TOOLS
THAT HE WORKED WITH, AND EVERYTHING ELSE WAS
OWNED BY THE WOMEN. – BACK THEN, THE CHIEFS
HAD A LOT OF POWER, BUT WE HAD THE CLAN MOTHERS. AND EVEN THE CHIEFS
WOULD TALK WITH THESE WOMEN ABOUT THINGS THAT AFFECTED
THE PEOPLE ON A DAILY BASIS. THE WOMEN HAD A GREAT DEAL
TO SAY IN A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT THE HEAD
OF THE TRIBES WOULD DO. – KEEPING TRADITIONS
LIKE THIS HELP THE MONACAN
PASS ON THEIR HERITAGE. – I’M MAKING HONEYSUCKLE
BASKETS, WHICH WAS PASSED DOWN FROM MY GRANDMOTHER
MANY, MANY YEARS AGO. I’VE BEEN WEAVING
AROUND 15 YEARS, AND THAT HONEYSUCKLE
BASKET WAS USED TO STORE
YOUR DRIED FOODS IN, LIKE YOUR BEANS,
CORN, NUTS, AND BERRIES. – ANOTHER WAY OF KEEPING
THEIR HERITAGE IS BY LEARNING
THE ANCIENT LANGUAGES. WHEN THE COLONISTS CAME,
THERE WERE 3 MAJOR VIRGINIA
INDIAN LANGUAGES: ALGONQUIAN, IROQUOIAN,
AND SIOUAN. – THEY DIDN’T ALL SPEAK
THE SAME LANGUAGE? – NO. JUST LIKE IN EUROPE, DIFFERENT NATIONS HAD DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, BUT A LOT OF TRIBES
COULD SPEAK MORE THAN ONE. TODAY, MANY
OF VIRGINIA INDIAN TRIBES
WANT THEIR MEMBERS TO LEARN TO SPEAK ONE OF THESE LANGUAGES
TO MAKE SURE THE LANGUAGES
ARE NEVER LOST. WHEN JAMESTOWN WAS BUILT,
MOST OF THE TRIBES THAT SPOKE ALGONQUIAN BELONGED
TO THE POWHATAN ALLIANCE: THE MATTAPONI, THE PAMUNKEY,
THE CHICKAHOMINY AND THE EASTERN CHICKAHOMINY,
THE RAPPAHANNOCK, THE UPPER MATTAPONI,
THE NANSEMOND, AND THE PATAWOMECK. ONLY THE MONACAN SPOKE
SIOUAN IN VIRGINIA. THE CHEROKEE SPOKE IROQUOIAN,
BUT THEY NO LONGER HOLD
ANY LAND IN VIRGINIA. THE TWO OTHER TRIBES
WHO SPOKE IROQUOIAN WERE THE NOTTOWAY AND
THE CHEROENHAKA NOTTOWAY. THE NOTTOWAY OF VIRGINIA TRIBE
IS IN SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY. THEY TRY TO KEEP THEIR HERITAGE
THROUGH THEIR COMMUNITY HOUSE AND INTERPRETIVE CENTER
IN CAPRON, VIRGINIA. – IS THAT LIKE A MUSEUM? – THERE IS A MUSEUM,
BUT PEOPLE WHO TEACH, TELL STORIES,
MAKE CRAFTS, DO ART, AND PUT ON SHOWS ALL USE
THE BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS. – HISTORIANS HAVE WRITTEN
ABOUT OUR TRIBE, BUT NONE OF THEM
HAVE LIVED HERE, SO THE COMMUNITY HOUSE
GIVES US THE OPPORTUNITY TO TELL OUR STORY
IN OUR OWN WORDS. – MAN, YOU’RE RIGHT, KEENAN.
THESE TRIBES REALLY ARE
DIFFERENT. – THROUGH TIME, EVERY TRIBE HAS
ITS OWN UNIQUE CHALLENGES THAT MAKE IT EVOLVE
IN ITS OWN UNIQUE WAY. – AND ANOTHER TRIBE
THAT HAS CHANGED OVER TIME IS
THE CHEROENHAKA NOTTOWAY TRIBE, WHICH IS ALSO
IN SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY. HERE, THEY STILL LEARN TO SPEAK
THEIR ANCIENT LANGUAGE. – WE’VE BEEN BLESSED
IN THIS GREAT COMMONWEALTH WITH 3 LINGUISTIC
GROUPS OF TRIBES:
THE ALGONQUIAN SPEAKERS, THE SIOUAN SPEAKERS, AND
THE IROQUOIAN SPEAKERS. WE ARE IROQUOIAN SPEAKERS. IN OUR TRIBAL LANGUAGE, AGAIN,
WE SAY…[SPEAKS IROQUOIAN]. “CREATOR, MY HEART SEES.” [SPEAKS IROQUOIAN] “CREATOR, MY HEART HEARS.”
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE SAY… [SPEAKS IROQUOIAN] “MY HEART SPEAKS.”
[CHANTS] – WHILE THE NOTTOWAY OF VIRGINIA, THE CHEROENHAKA NOTTOWAY, AND THE PATAWOMECK TRIBES
HAVE BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME, THEY WEREN’T ACTUALLY RECOGNIZED
AS VIRGINIA TRIBES UNTIL 2010. – WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? – ALL 11 TRIBES OF THE STATE HAD
TO ASK TO BE RECOGNIZED AS AN INDIAN NATION BY
THE VIRGINIA STATE GOVERNMENT. THE PATAWOMECK TRIBE IS
ONE OF THE RECENTLY
STATE-RECOGNIZED TRIBES. [MAN CHANTING] THE PATAWOMECK TRIBE IS
IN STAFFORD COUNTY, AND THEY WERE PART OF
THE POWHATAN ALLIANCE. – SO IF THEY WERE IN
THE POWHATAN ALLIANCE,
THEY SPOKE ALGONQUIAN? – UH-HUH. THE PATAWOMECK
WORK VERY HARD TO TEACH
ALGONQUIAN AND EVEN HAVE CLASSES FOR ANYONE
WHO WANTS TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE. – HUH. YOU WON’T FIND THAT
ON ROSETTA STONE.
– NOPE. – [SPEAKING ALGONQUIAN] – THE PATAWOMECK ALSO DO
A LOT OF ANCIENT TRADITIONS LIKE COOKING OVER FIRES,
MAKING TRADITIONAL HOMES, AND MAKING BASKETS,
MUSIC, ARROWHEADS, FARMING TOOLS, FISHING TOOLS,
FISHING NETS, AND TANNING HIDES. – WHEN WE STARTED REALIZING
THE TRADITIONAL THINGS LIKE
THE TANNING AND THE SNARES– THAT TYPE OF ACTIVITIES
WERE GETTING LOST, WE STARTED COMING BACK
TOGETHER AS A TRIBE, STARTED DOING THESE REENACTMENTS
TO HELP PRESERVE OUR ANCIENT WAYS. – I THINK THAT THAT IS
THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT
ASPECT OF INDIAN CULTURE– THEIR TRADITIONS
AND THEIR CRAFTS AND THINGS
THAT THEY BROUGHT WITH THEM. AND IF WE DON’T TEACH
THESE YOUNG PEOPLE THOSE SKILLS,
THEY WILL BE LOST. – THE PATAWOMECK HAVE EVEN MADE
A COUPLE OF DUGOUTS. – WHAT’S A DUGOUT? – IT’S THE TRUNK OF A TREE
CARVED OUT TO MAKE A CANOE. THE PATAWOMECK USED A 90-FOOT TREE TO MAKE TWO WORKING DUGOUTS. ONE WAS 17 FEET LONG,
BUT THE OTHER WAS 31 FEET LONG. – WHOA! THAT COULD HOLD, LIKE, HALF THE CLASS!
– PROBABLY. – I FOUND THIS BIG POPLAR TREE
HAD BLOWN OVER IN THE STORM, AND I FIGURED IT
WOULD MAKE A GOOD CANOE. BUT IT WAS UP IN THE WOODS,
SO WE NEEDED SOMEBODY
TO MOVE THEM, SO THAT’S HOW WE GOT
THE WHOLE TRIBE INVOLVED. – SO ARE THE PATAWOMECK THE ONLY
TRIBE THAT MAKES DUGOUTS? – ACTUALLY, MANY TRIBES
HAVE THAT SKILL, AND ALL VIRGINIA INDIANS HAVE
MANY OTHER COMMON BELIEFS. – OH, I KNOW.
LIKE YOUR DANCING AND MUSIC. – SORT OF. A LOT OF
OUR TRADITIONS ARE SPIRITUAL. RELIGION IS VERY IMPORTANT
TO MOST OF VIRGINIA’S TRIBES. TODAY, A LOT OF THESE BELIEFS
ARE A MIX OF BOTH ANCIENT INDIAN SPIRITUALITY
AND CHRISTIANITY. – THE CHURCHES WERE
VERY, VERY IMPORTANT IN HOLDING THE GROUPS
OF PEOPLE TOGETHER BY HOLDING HOMECOMING CEREMONIES
AND THINGS LIKE THAT EVERY YEAR WHERE PEOPLE
WOULD COME TOGETHER. – THE CHURCH WAS MORE OR LESS
THE HUB OF OUR COMMUNITY. OUR CHURCH WAS A FOCAL POINT OF
OUR COMMUNITY, STILL IS TODAY. – SO IS DANCING PART
OF YOUR RELIGION? – YEAH, DANCING IS
A PART OF WORSHIP. – DANCING WAS A WAY THAT INDIAN PEOPLE PRACTICED
PART OF THEIR CEREMONIES. DOING THE DANCES WAS A WAY
THAT THEY USED TO GIVE THANKS AND EVEN TO SAY PRAYERS
AS THEY WOULD DO THEIR DANCES AND THEY WOULD WALK AND STEP
AND PRAY TO THE CREATOR. – DANCING, MUSIC,
AND CEREMONIAL CLOTHES
ARE USUALLY PARTS OF A SPIRITUAL CEREMONY
CALLED A POWWOW. – I’VE HEARD OF THAT.
ISN’T THAT LIKE A BIG MEETING? – SORT OF, BUT WHAT MOST
PEOPLE DON’T KNOW IS THAT POWWOWS ARE MOSTLY
SPIRITUAL CEREMONIES. YOU MAY SEE ONE AND THINK
IT LOOKS LIKE A PARTY,
AND ALTHOUGH IT IS FUN, THERE ARE A LOT OF TRADITIONS
THAT ARE SPIRITUAL. – WHAT SORT OF TRADITIONS? – WELL, LIKE THE DANCE AREA
IS CALLED AN ARBOR, AND IT IS ALWAYS BLESSED
BEFORE THE BEGINNING
OF A POWWOW SO THAT THE LAND IS
SACRED TO US. THE ARBOR IS ALWAYS IN
THE SHAPE OF A CIRCLE, AND ANYONE WHO COMES IN
SHOULD ALWAYS WALK OR DANCE
IN A CLOCKWISE DIRECTION. YOU SHOULD ALSO COME IN
AND GO OUT IN THE SAME PLACE
TO KEEP THE CIRCLE SACRED. – PEOPLE COME TOGETHER
IN CEREMONY UNITED IN
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE. IT IS A TIME FOR LOOKING
FORWARD AND LOOKING BACK. – WE ARE ALL IN THE CIRCLE,
IN THAT UNBROKEN CHAIN
OF EXISTENCE. – SO DO YOU HAVE POWWOWS
AFTER CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY? – WELL, WE COULD, BUT MANY
OF THE TRIBES OF VIRGINIA WANT TO USE POWWOWS
TO TEACH OTHER PEOPLE. EACH TRIBE HAS A LARGE
POWWOW EVERY YEAR, AND USUALLY ANYONE CAN COME
AND WATCH THE CEREMONY, WHERE THEY COULD LEARN MORE
ABOUT VIRGINIA INDIAN CULTURES
AND TRADITIONS. – ONE OF THE IMPORTANT
MESSAGES OF A POWWOW IS IT CONVEYS THE IDENTITY
OF THE NATIVE AMERICANS TO THE REST OF
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY. MANY PEOPLE WHO GO TO
THESE POWWOWS PROBABLY LEAVE WITH A LOT OF IDEAS CHANGED
IN THEIR MINDS. – THE WHOLE REASON
THAT WE PUT ON THE EVENT
IS TO EDUCATE. WE DON’T DO THIS TO
ENTERTAIN PEOPLE BECAUSE
WE COULD HAVE A POWWOW AND NOT INVITE ANYONE,
AND IT WOULD BE
THE SAME POWWOW FOR US. – MOST POWWOWS ALSO BEGIN
BY THANKING TRIBAL MEMBERS WHO HAVE BEEN IN
THE UNITED STATES MILITARY. – BUT YOU SAY
IT’S FUN, TOO, RIGHT? – YEAH. THERE’S A LOT
OF FOOD, MUSIC, AND DANCING. THAT’S ALL A PART
OF THE TRADITION. – SO THE MUSIC IS, LIKE,
RELIGIOUS SONGS, THEN? – SOMETIMES, BUT MOSTLY
IT’S THE DRUMMING THAT’S
SACRED TO US. MOST VIRGINIA TRIBES BELIEVE
THAT USING A DRUM IS SPIRITUAL, AND IT’S USED IN MANY
RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES. – THE DRUM IS THE HEARTBEAT
OF A POWWOW. THE WOOD IS NATURE–
TREES, PLANTS; THE SKIN ON THE DRUM
SYMBOLIZES OUR ANIMALS. WE APPRECIATE ALL OF IT. – THE MUSIC, THE DRUM–
AS WE SING AND GATHER ROUND IT, OUR SPIRITS ARE UPLIFTED IN SONG, AND THE SONGS THAT WE SING
ARE WARRIOR SONGS, ARE PRAYER SONGS, AND THEY’RE
A SONG OF THANKS. – AND YOU CAN ONLY DANCE
OR SING IF YOU WEAR
THE OLD CLOTHES? – NOT ALL VIRGINIA INDIANS DRESS
IN REGALIA TO DANCE AND SING, BUT THE CEREMONIAL CLOTHES
ARE PART OF THE POWWOW. – OH, SO YOU DON’T WEAR
THAT STUFF TO THE GROCERY STORE? – MOST OF THE TIME, VIRGINIA INDIANS ONLY WEAR REGALIA TO POWWOWS AND OTHER
RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES. EVEN THOUGH WE COULD
WEAR THEM ALL THE TIME,
MOST TRIBAL MEMBERS WEAR THE SAME CLOTHES TO WORK
AND SCHOOL AS EVERYONE ELSE. – THE REGALIA IS WHAT WE WEAR
TO SHOW HONOR AND RESPECT
TO OUR ANCESTORS AND TO TRY TO HOLD ON TO PART
OF WHERE WE’VE COME FROM, BUT THAT WE ARE
JUST PLAIN PEOPLE WHO LIVE
JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. – WORKING AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE
AS A NATIVE AMERICAN, I HAVE PICTURES ON MY DESK OF MY FRIEND AND I WITH OUR REGALIAS, AND PEOPLE COME UP TO ME AND THEY SAY, “ARE YOU REALLY INDIAN?” AND I SAY, “OF COURSE, I’M CHICKAHOMINY,” AND THEY’VE NEVER HEARD OF THAT. THEY’RE JUST USED TO THOSE BIG TRIBES, SO THEY DON’T THINK I’M A REAL INDIAN
’CAUSE THEY’VE NEVER HEARD
OF CHICKAHOMINY BEFORE. – WE CALL THE CEREMONIAL CLOTHES
“REGALIA,” NOT “COSTUMES.” WE WEAR REGALIA THAT’S A LOT LIKE WHAT OUR ANCESTORS USED TO WEAR. MOST OF IT IS MADE FROM DEERSKIN AND DIFFERENT ANIMAL FURS. – SO EVERYONE WORE THE SAME THING? – MOST OF THE VIRGINIA INDIANS WORE DEERSKIN BECAUSE THAT WAS WHAT
THEY HAD CLOSE BY. THE TRIBES OF VIRGINIA ARE
ALL A PART OF THE EASTERN
WOODLAND INDIANS. THIS GROUP IS MADE UP OF ALL THE TRIBES IN THE EAST HALF OF THE LAND THAT WOULD BECOME THE UNITED STATES. BECAUSE THE LAND WAS
MOSTLY WOODS, THE SAME
PLANTS AND ANIMALS WERE CLOSE BY TO ALL THE TRIBES
OF THE EASTERN WOODLAND INDIANS, SO THEY HAD A LOT OF THE SAME WAYS OF MAKING CLOTHES, FOOD, AND HOUSES. – YEAH, THEY ALL LIVED IN TEEPEES, RIGHT? – NO, THOSE WERE ACTUALLY BUILT
BY THE MIDWESTERN TRIBES. MOST OF THE EASTERN WOODLAND
INDIANS BUILT LONGHOUSES. THEY WERE MADE
FROM THIN TREES BENT INTO
THE SHAPE OF A LONG BARREL, THEN THEY WERE USUALLY
COVERED WITH GRASS MATS. ALTHOUGH MOST OF THEM
WERE VERY LONG, THE MONACAN USUALLY MADE THEIRS
LOOK LIKE A CIRCLE. – SO THEY COULD FIT
A LOT OF PEOPLE? – DEFINITELY, AND THEY
LASTED A LONG TIME. MOST LONGHOUSES COULD BE USED
BY MANY GENERATIONS OF
THE SAME FAMILY. INSIDE, THEY USUALLY HAD FUR BEDS, STORAGE, AND EVEN A FIRE PIT. THE CEILING USUALLY HAD OPENINGS
SO THAT THE SMOKE COULD ESCAPE. ALL OF THEIR HOUSES, CLOTHES,
AND FOOD CAME FROM THE LAND’S
NATURAL RESOURCES. – LIKE CORN AND SHAD?
– RIGHT. THE EASTERN WOODLAND INDIANS
ATE DIFFERENT FOODS DURING DIFFERENT SEASONS
OF THE YEAR. IN THE SPRING, THEY COULD GATHER
BERRIES AND CATCH THE MOST FISH. IN THE SUMMER, THEY COULD USUALLY FARM BEANS, CORN, AND SQUASH. IN THE FALL, THEY COULD
GATHER THEIR CROPS, AND IN THE WINTER THEY HAD
TO USE FOOD THEY HAD SAVED
FROM THE REST OF THE YEAR, BUT THEY COULD STILL CATCH AND EAT BIRDS. THEY ACTUALLY HUNTED ALL YEAR LONG AND ATE A LOT OF DEER. ALL OF THEIR FOOD
COULD BE STORED AND COOKED
RIGHT INSIDE THEIR LONGHOUSES. – BUT YOU GUYS DON’T LIVE
IN LONGHOUSES ANYMORE. – NO, VIRGINIA INDIANS LIVE
IN ALL SORTS OF HOUSES TODAY. – VIRGINIA INDIANS
ARE EVERYWHERE, DELLA. THEY’RE YOUR FRIENDS,
COWORKERS, NEIGHBORS,
AND CLASSMATES. – THAT’S NEAT.
THANKS, KEENAN. – YOU’RE WELCOME.
– YES, THANKS FOR SHARING. – I LIKE TO HELP PEOPLE LEARN
MORE ABOUT VIRGINIA INDIANS BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT
OF THINGS PEOPLE THINK
ABOUT US THAT AREN’T TRUE. ONE THING I REALLY WANT
PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND IS
THAT WE’RE STILL HERE. – WE ARE STILL HERE. – WE’RE STILL HERE. – WE’RE STILL HERE. – WE’RE STILL HERE. – AND WE’RE STILL HERE. – WE’RE STILL HERE. – WE’RE HERE TODAY, AND WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

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