Mattaponi Indian Reservation
West Point, Virginia
Webster "Little Eagle" Custalow
State Recognized February 25, 1983
The members of this tribe live on a reservation
that stretches along the borders of the Mattaponi River in King William County, Virginia. Presently they number about seventy-five.
Many of the younger members have left the reservation to seek work elsewhere. The Mattaponi Indian Reservation dates back
to 1658. In those early days, the people made their living completely from nature's sources. Before the first settlers reached
this land, these Indians served and worshipped the Great Spirit, who was their God in the Heavens above the sun, the moon,
and the stars. Now they worship as Southern Baptists, and have their own church on the reservation.
1646, the Mattaponi Indians began paying tribute to an early Virginia governor, and this custom continues to the present day
when at Thanksgiving they present game or fish to the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Mattaponi Indian Reservation was created
from land long held by the Tribe by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1658. Being one of the oldest reservations
in the country, the Tribe traces its history back to the Great Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, who ruled most of Tidewater
Virginia when Europeans arrived in 1607. The story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith begins here.
Since the Assembly's designation of the
Reservation in 1658, the Mattaponi Tribe has maintained its heritage and many of its customs despite strong pressures pushing
toward assimilation with the mainstream culture.
Through the years both the Reservation's
physical size and the number of Tribal members have been diminished. The Reservation presently encompasses approximately 150
acres, a portion being wetland. Although the Tribal Roll numbers 450 people, not all actually live on the Reservation. The
Mattaponi Indian Tribe is State recognized and continues to maintain its own Sovereign government. The Governing Body today
is made up of the Chief (pictured above), Assistant Chief, and seven Councilmen.
Many Mattaponis who live off the Reservation
would like to return to their traditional homeland to continue the Tribe's culture and traditions. To do so will require expansion
of the land holdings of the Mattaponi Tribe. The Reservation today
sits on the banks of the Mattaponi River, one of the most pristine rivers in the Eastern United States. Facilities on the
Reservation today include living quarters, a small church, a museum, a Fish Hatchery and Marine Science Center, and a community Tribal building that was formerly the
Reservation school. While some of the residents pursue their
endeavors on the Reservation, many of the younger members seek work in other areas.
A Message from the Assistance Chief
Carl Lone Eagle Custalow
Mattaponi Indian Reservation
1467 Mattaponi Reservation Circle
West Point, Virginia
804-769-4508~ FAX 804-769-0294
Dear Friend of the Mattaponi,
When I was a boy in the early fifties, my father, Chief Webster Little
Eagle Custalow, would bring me on a crisp spring morning to the banks of the Sandy Point tract on the Mattaponi River. I still
feel the thrill of seeing the river flowing, the herons fishing, and ducks nesting in the marshes. Occasionally an eagle or
an osprey would soar overhead. I used to long for this large piece of our original Homeland to become part of our Reservation
again. The fish, wildlife and bird habitat make Sandy Point an especially sacred site for our Tribe.
When I returned to the Reservation and became Assistant Chief of the Tribe,
I had this vision of a modem Hatchery, a beautiful three story Cultural Center built over the water and a Living History Village
to study and teach our culture to tribal members and the general public alike.
We now have the opportunity to re-acquire this 2050 acre piece of
our Homeland, known as the Sandy Point Tract, for an estimated 3 million dollars. At first, I felt overwhelmed as I considered
the large sum of money needed. I didn’t know how we were going to raise this kind money. Then I realized we could not
turn this opportunity down.
The vision for my beloved Reservation, the beauty of it all and the
chance to protect rich Virginia natural resources, forests, meadows and wetlands, while strengthening our cultural heritage,
gave me the will to hope.
We may have only six months in which to purchase the first 550 acre
parcel. How can I even begin to express what this land means to us? It used to be part of our Reservation. It has a sacred
and very special meaning to us. This land is our natural heritage and the way for us to realize our vision.
On the present 150 acre Reservation, the Church still stands. The
old School House is now a Community Center. One of the oldest Shad Hatcheries in the Nation has been replaced with a newly
equipped modem one. The Mattaponi River flows unchanged, much as it did in the 1600’s. Last year, the Tribe returned
an estimated 8 million endangered Shad to the river.
We have struggled to maintain our identity for over 350 years. We
have endured. The Mattaponi have been described by historians as a people who have refused to give up. I won’t give
up. I am determined to raise the funds necessary to re-acquire our Homeland.
This place is in our hearts. We need your help to place it safely
in our stewardship. Please help us to realize our dream. What I seek to do, I can not do without you. It is critically important
that you be with us in our quest. We have our work cut out for us. Can I count on you again for help in returning Pocahontas’
Homeland – our Homeland – to our Tribe?
Your gift in any amount will make a difference.
Thank you,Carl Lone Eagle Custalow
Chief of the Mattaponi Tribe
VIRGINIA COLONIAL RECORDS.
Govern'r & the Councill of our Colony and
Plantacon of Virginia in The West Indys.
Treaty Between Virginia And The Indians
Articles of Peace between the most Mighty Prince & our Dread Soveraigne Lord Charles the
II by the Grace of God King of greate Brittaine, France, and Ireland. Defender of the ffaith &c: And the severall Indian
Kins and Queens &c Assentors and Subscribers hereunto made and Concluded at the Camp of Middle plantacon, the 29th day
of May: 1677; being the day of the most happy birth & Restauration of our s'd Soveraigne Lord, and in the XXIX yeare of
his said Ma'ties Reigne.
By the Right Honourable Herbert Jeffreys Esq'r Governour and Cap't Generall of his Majesties
Colony of Virginia: Present the Hon'ble S'r John Berry Kn't & Francis Morrison Esq'r his most Sacred Ma'ties Commiconers
appointed under the great Seale of England for the Virginia affairs, And the Hon'ble Councill of State of the said Colony.
Whereas his most Sacred Ma'tie hath of his owne Royall grace and meer motion intrusted to my
care and endeavours the Renewing management and concluding a good peace with the Neighbour Indians in order whereunto with
the advice and Assistance of the hon'ble S'r John Berry Kn't and Francis Morrison Esq'r I have here caused to be drawne up
these ensueing Articles and Overtures for the firme grounding and sure establishment of a good and just Peace with the said
Indians, and that it may be a Secure and lasting one founded upon the strong Pillars of Reciprocall Justice
by confirming to them their just Rights, and by Redress of their wrongs and injuries that soe the great God who is god of
peace and Lover of Justice may uphold and prosper this our mutuall League & Amity. It is hereby Concluded, consented to
& mutually agreed as followeth:
I. That the Respective Indian Kings and Queens doe from henceforth acknowledge
to have their imediate dependancy on, and Own all Subjection to the great King of England Our now dread Soveraigne his heires
and Successors, when they pay their Tribute to the Right hon'ble his Ma'ties Govern'r for the time being.
II. That thereupon the said Indian Kings & Queens and their Subjects shall
hold their lands, and have the same confirmed to them and their posterity by Patent under the Seale of this his Magesties
Colony, without any fee gratuity or Reward for ye same, in such sort, and in as free and firme manner as others his Magesties
Liege Subjects, have and enjoye their Lands, and possessions, paying onely yearly for, and in Liew of a Quitrent or acknowledgement
for the same three Indian Arrowes.
III. That all Indians who are in amity with us, & have not land siffitient
to plant up, be upon information forthwith provided for, and land laid out, and confirmed to them as affores'd never to be
disturbed therein, or taken from them, soe long as they owne keep and maintaine the due obedience & Subjection to his
Majestie his Govern'r and Government; & amity & friendship towards the English.
IV. Whereas by the mutaull discontents, Complaints, jealousies, and feares of English
and Indians occasioned by the violent intrusions of divers English into their lands, forceing the Indians by way of Revenge,
to kill the Cattle & hoggs of the English, whereby offence, and injuries being given, and done on boeth sides, the peace
of this his Majesties Colony hath bin much disturbed, and the late unhappy Rebellion by this means in a great measure begunne
& fomented which hath involved this Country into soe much Ruine, & misery, for prevention of which injuries and evill
consequences as much as possible we may for time to come it is hereby concluded and enacted that noe English, shall seate
or plant nearer then three miles of any Indian towne, and whosoever hath made or shall make any encroachment upon their Lands
shall be removed from thence and proceeded against as by the former peace made when the Honourable Francis Morrison was Govern'r
and the act of Assembly grounded thereupon is provided & enacted.
V. That the said Indians be well Secured & defended in theire persons goods
and properties against all hurts and injuries of the English, and that upon any breach or violation thereof, that the aggrieved
Indians doe in the first place repaire and adress themselves to the Govern'r Acquainting him therew'th without rashly and
suddainly betakeing themselves to any hostile course for Satisfaction who will inflict such punishment on the wilfull infringers
hereof, as the Lawes of England or this Country permitt, and as if such hurt or injury had bin done to any Englishman, which
is but just and Reasonable they owneing themselves to be under the Allegiance of his most Sacred Majestie.
VI. That noe Indian King or Queen be imprisoned without a Special Warrant from
his Ma'ties Govern'r & two of ye Councill, and that noe other Indian be imprisoned without a warrant from a Justice of
peace, upon Suffitient cause of Committment.
VII. That the said Indians have and enjoy theire wonted conveniences of Oystering,
fishing, and gathering Tuccahoe, Curtenemmons, wild oats, rushes, Puckoone, or any thing else for their natural Support not
usefull to the English, upon the English Devidends, Alwayes provided they first repaire to some publique Magestrate of good
Repute & informe him of their number and business, whoe shall not refuse them a certificate upon this, any other Lawfull
occasion, soe that they make due returne thereof when they come back and goe directly home about their business without wearing
or carrying any manner of weapon, or lodging under any Englishman's dwelling house on night.
VIII. That noe fforreigne Indian be suffered to come to any Englishman's plantacon
without a friendly Neighbour Indian in his Company with such Certificate as aforesaid, And noe Indian King to refuse to send
a safe Conduct with the fforraigner upon any Lawfull occasion of his Comeing in And that noe Indian doe paint or disguise
themselves when they come in.
IX. That all Indian Kings, and Queens tributary to the English haveing notice of
any march of strange Indians neer the English quarters or plantacons doe forthwith repaire to some of the next officers of
the militia, and acquaint him of their nation number and designe, and which way they bend their Course.
X. That if necessary a convenient party be presently sent out by the next Collo.
of the Militia to aide strengthen and joyne, with our Friendly Indians, against any fforreigne Attempt, incursion, or depredacon
upon the Indian townes.
XI. That every Indian fitt to beare armes of the neighbouring Nations in peace
with us, have such quantity of powder and shott allotted him as the R't Hon'le the Govern'r shall think fitt on any occasion,
and that such members of them be ready to goe out with our forces upon any march against the enemy and to Receive such pay
for their good services, as shall be thought fitt.
XII. That each Indian King, and Queen have equall power to govern their owne people
and none to have greater power then other, except the Queen of Pomunky to whom severall scattered Indians doe now againe owne
their antient Subjection, and are agreed to come in and plant themselves under power and government, whoe with her are alsoe
hereby included into this present League and treatie of peace, & are to keep, and observe the same towards the said Queen
in all things as her Subjects, as well as towards the English.
XIII. That noe persons whatsoever shall entertaine or keep any Neighbor Indian
as Servant or otherwise, but by licence of ye Govern'r and to be upon obligation answerable for all Injuries and damages by
him of them happening to be done upon any English.
XIV. That noe English harbour or entertaine any vagrant or Runnaway Indian, but
convey him home by way of pass from Justice to Justice to his owne towne under penalty of paying soe much per day for harbouring
him as by the Lawe for entertaining Runnaways is Recoverable.
XV. That noe Indian of those in Amity with us shall serve for any longer time then
English of the like Ages should serve by act of Assembly, and shall not be sold as Slaves.
XVI. That every Indian King and Queen in the month of March every yeare with some
of theire great men tender their obedience to the R't Honourable his Majesties Govern'r at the place of his residence, wherever
it shall be, and then and there pay the accustomed rent of twentie beaver skinns, to the Govern'r and alsoe their quit rent
aforesaid, in acknowledgment that they hold their Crownes, and Lands of the great King of England.
XVII. That due care be had and taken that those Indian Kings and Queens their great
men and Attendance that come on any public business to the R't hono'ble the Governo'r Councill of Assembly may be accommodated
with provisions, and housroome at the publique charge. And that noe English Subject shall abuse revile, hurt or wrong them
at any time in word or deed.
XVIII. That upon discord or breach of Peace happening to arise between any of the
Indians in amity with the English upon the first appearance and beginning thereof, and before they enter into any open Acts
of hostility or warr one against another they shall repaire to his Majesties Governo'r by whose Justice & wisdome, it
is concluded such difference shall be made up and decided, and to whose finall determination the said Indians shall Submitt
and conforme themselves.
XIX. That for preventing the frequent mischeifes and mistakes occasioned by unfaithfull,
& corrupt interpreters, & for the more Safetie satisfaciton, and adgvantage both of the Indians, and English, that
there be one of each nation of our neighbouring Indians, that already can or may become capable of speaking of English, admitted
together with those of y'e English to be their owne interpreters.
XX. That the severall Indians concluded in this peace forthwith restore to the
Respective English parents & owners, all such children servants, and horses, which they have at any time taken from them,
and now remaining with them ye said Indians, or which they can make discovery of.
XXI. That the trade with the said Indians be continued, Limited, restrained, or
laid open, as shall make best for ye peace and quiett of the Country, upon which affaire the Govern'r will consult with the
Counsell and Assembly, and conclude thereon at their next meeting.
XXII. That it is further agreed that all Indians and English in the Province of
Maryland are inclined in these Articles of peace. And that neither partie shall offend the other without breach of his Majesties
Signe and Tribe of the Indian representatives who witnessed the signing of the treaty.
After this treaty was confirmed presents were sent to the various Chiefs
from England, together with various badges of authority. The Queen of Pamunkey received a red velvet cap to which was fastened
a silver frontlet by chains of the same metal. After remaining long in the possession of the Pamunkeys at Indiantown, Va.,
it was given or sold by them between 1840 and 1850 to Mr. Morson, of Stafford county, Va., from whose heirs the frontlet was
bought by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and is now deposited with the Virginia Historical Society.
the Historical Society owns a small oval medal of rude design inscribed on one side, "Ye King of" and on the other "Patomecke."
This medal was probably given soon after the treaty of 1677.
© Copyright 1997, WHRO.
About the Mattaponi Legacy Plan
As the Mattaponi people seek to rebuild their society in their traditional lands, they are constrained
by the diminution of their reservation over the past two centuries. The Reservation today consists of only 150 acres that
overlook the Mattaponi River, and much of that land is designated wetlands. Clearly, the people need additional space to realize
The Mattaponi Tribal Legacy Plan is designed to further those dreams. The plan calls for the
expansion of the Reservation to about one thousand acres. Proposed use of the land includes the following:
- Cultural and Exhibition Center
- Nature Interpretative Trail
- Traditional Mattaponi Village
- Pottery and Craft Workshop & Classrooms
- Fish Cannery
- Residential Areas for Tribal Members
- Center for Native American Studies
- Center for Study of Mattaponi River Ecology
- Center for Indigenous Knowledge Preservation
|Scientific and cultural tourism along with a renewed interest in Native American culture in
general, makes the development of the Mattaponi Indian Reservation a critical component of the broader vision for developing
Virginia's Middle Peninsula. Along with Colonial History, historic buildings, river plantations, courthouses, churches, steamship
ports-of-call, Native American encampments and Cultural Centers such as the one proposed by the Mattaponi Legacy Plan will
do much to attract the kinds of low environmental impact and sustainable economic activity that is desired for the Commonwealth
and the people of the Region.
Increase the land base of the Mattaponi Reservation
Provide relief for the impoverished and unemployed members
of the Tribe
Enhance the art and culture of the Mattaponi People
Foster communication of Mattaponi history and heritage
Assist the Tribe in achieving federal recognition
Preserve the natural resources of the Reservation while developing
an economically sustainable community
Work with other organizations and other Tribes to develop
and market a Cultural Heritage Corridor in King William County
Work with the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Association for
the preservation of the quality of these marine systems
The Mattaponi Connection
to River and Bay
Across rural Virginia, citizens are searching for ways to create sustainable
communities and economies while preserving the quality and character of the landscape, their small towns and villages, and
the life styles they love. For thousands of years the Mattaponi People managed to do just that. Today, with all the challenges
to environmental quality, the Mattaponi Heritage Foundation and the Mattaponi People have launched an ambitious program to
build an economically and environmentally sustainable community on their traditional lands along the Mattaponi River.
Beginning with a grant from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to establish
and operate a fish hatchery near West Point, Virginia, the Mattaponi Heritage Foundation will seek other support to allow
them to extend their land holdings along the Mattaponi watershed in King William County. Activities on the Reservation supported
through the Mattaponi Heritage Foundation will enable them to develop an economic base for their community through scientific
and cultural tourism and as a center for Native American studies.
Combining modern science with indigenous knowledge about the ecology of the river
and bay, the Mattaponi people seek to show all of mankind how to live in harmony with the natural world while sustaining the
highest quality of life.
The success of the Mattaponi Heritage Foundation will provide benefits to all
of Tidewater Virginia, as the development of cultural and scientific tourism and educational resources around Native American
knowledge and culture add to the critical mass of attractions that bring visitors to Tidewater.
Mission of the Mattaponi
Build 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 and, in doing so, demonstrate to all people how they
may live successful and rewarding lives in harmony with the earth.
April 7, 1997
Indian tribe cites 320-year-old treaty to thwart reservoir plans
BY ROBERT LITTLE,
The Virginian-Pilot Copyright 1997,
Landmark Communications Inc.
You can read the years in Webster Custalow's crooked fingers like lines in a tree trunk.
Time was he
struck a formidable pose, Custalow will tell you, hauling railroad ties off the saw mill or hoisting 100-pound bags of
salt around the cucumber-pickling plant during the Great Depression. Now he stands about chest-high to a door knob, coiled
under as if all 85 of his birthdays were in a sack tied around
Even the shad and the terrapin
in the river out back don't fear him much anymore. These days, Custalow says, strength comes from his family.
family is Virginia's Mattaponi tribe of American Indians, of which he is chief. And it's so strong that a $200 million
development project could derail because of it, thwarting the King William County government and the Newport News
Citing a 1677 treaty, the Indians who live on Virginia's Mattaponi reservation are challenging
plans for a 1,400-acre reservoir nearby. They say it would kill the fish spawning in tribal waters and violate a
guarantee from England's King Charles II that nothing would be built within three miles of their land.
officials are investigating the claim, and they aren't sure what to make of it.The treaty had always made for nice Thanksgiving
Day storytelling, but no one has ever tried to enforce it as a matter of law. The courts might ultimately have to decide whether
it can still be enforced.
If the 20 families on the Mattaponi reservation succeed, they will have won
a battle their ancestors forever lost. And they will do it armed only with a 320-year-old pact with the King of
England and a few thousand years of heritage.
``I've been thinking about it a long, long time,'' Chief Custalow said
Friday, standing in a corner of the 150-acre reservation, on the banks of the Mattaponi River.
``I'm a person
that from my youngest days God always showed me visions, and I have had a vision on that reservoir. I see terrible
``I'm sure you've read in books that wind and water are the most powerful things on the face of this
Earth. We know that from living. And when you try to cage that up, man has no method of stopping what can happen.''
William County officials are planning to build the reservoir about two miles from the edge of the Mattaponi reservation.
With a peak capacity of 75 million gallons a day, the reservoir would supply the city of Newport News with drinking
water through 2040.
The benefits to the surrounding rural county of 11,000 could be enormous. Newport News would
pay $150 million or more over the next 50 years. King William could draw as much water as it needs, assess acres
of new waterfront property and get five recreation centers and boat landings for its residents.
government with annual revenue of about $20 million, the deal is like finding a diamond mine. County officials have worked on
the project since 1987, and are willing to buy all the land around the small Cohoke Creek.
They hope to have
a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality soon after the public comment period closes April 15. The Army
Corps of Engineers would be next. The new lake won't yield a glass of water until 2005 at the earliest.
involved in this project expected it to be a free ride,'' King William Administrator David Whitlow said. ``But this is
a tremendous opportunity. It's not like it's going to be an eyesore and a detriment to property values.''
Mattaponi don't care so much about eyesores. The reservoir won't flood any of their Reservation, but they dispute government claims
that increased salinity won't affect fishing on the Mattaponi River.
And property values aren't even worth discussing.
Their property has value because the Mattaponi have lived there 1,000 years or more.
``All through the
years, this is how we lost our land -- because we don't have the numbers, or the political clout,'' said Assistant Chief Carl
Custalow, Webster Custalow's son and the manager of most tribal affairs.
``But just because you're small, you
don't have to let them walk all over you. For years we've never exercised our treaty rights.
Well, now we've had enough.''
Virginia has eight recognized Indian tribes, but only the Mattaponi and the Pamunkey
have designated reservations. The Pamunkey reservation is a few miles from the Mattaponi, but its boundaries would
not be encroached by the reservoir.
The tiny Mattaponi reservation is two miles of wooded backroad from Route
30, a main artery through King William County. It is marked by a faded, plywood sign reading ``See Mattaponi Indian Museum.
Stone Age Relics 1,000 Years Old.'' The community is a cluster of old cars and picnic tables around trailers, brick
houses and rickety wooden shacks with rusty tin roofs.
The government has been consistent in honoring one
aspect of the Indians' treaty rights: Residents don't have to pay real estate tax for their land, or personal property
tax for their vehicles. But they also don't actually own their land; It's kept in trust and passed down to new generations.
The houses are modest because no one can get construction loans without a deed for collateral.
are other privileges still extended the Indians. They can hunt and fish without a license, and hook into community power
lines and phone lines tax-free.
If they make a living on the reservation they are exempt from income tax.
If they buy and sell goods among themselves, they are exempt from state sales tax, too.
life is not one of luxury. The village is nearly indistinguishable from any low-income community in eastern Virginia.
Only the scattered tepees -- largely for the tourists stand out.
Few Indians earn a living on the reservation
any more. Carl Custalow, who still makes some money fishing the river, works for an insurance agency in Mechanicsville,
for instance. His two children have moved away. He hopes they'll come back.
But the river doesn't yield
barrels of terrapin or a net full of catfish from shore to shore anymore. And the state's restrictions on shad or rockfish
make things even tougher. Some residents sell art or beadwork, a tough way to make a buck when you're milesfrom the nearest
``All my life, I've fished out there. From a little boy on up,'' said Chief Custalow. ``You had to
eat the fish, you had to get out here and dig in the earth to get what you needed to live. We couldn't go to a place
and buy fancy stuff.
``A lot of that's changed, I know, but I saw something with these two eyes I hope I never
see again. I saw indian starving. Children, little ones, that looked like old indian the way the skin was hanging on
their bones. We wouldn't be here today without that river.''
The reservoir -- and whatever it does to Indian burial
grounds, campsites or to the water on the river -- is just the latest of government's indignities, tribe members
``We always look seven generations ahead,'' Carl Custalow said. ``You take somebody like Newport News,
they're looking right now -- for the business. For the dollar.'' Two months ago, the Mattaponi sent a letter to
the state attorney general's office announcing their intention to invoke colonial treaty rights to block the reservoir.
lawyers have been looking into the issue, but don't know when they'll have something to say.
on at least three areas of law and several state agencies,'' said Don Harrison, spokesman for Attorney General Jim
Gilmore. ``It deals with treaty law,historic preservation, water rights -- this is fairly complex.'' According to a peace
treaty between 12 Virginia Indian chiefs and King Charles II, signed
May 29, 1677:
shall seate or plant nearer than three miles of any Indian Towne, and whosoever hath made or shall make any encroachment
upon their lands shall be removed from thence.'' The Mattaponi and Pamunkey are descendants of the chiefs who signed
the pact. The three-mile buffer was created so colonists and Indians would stop killing each other, the treaty suggests.
return, the Indians swore allegiance to the British crown. And they promised to return the children and horses they'd
taken, to stop killing cattle and hogs and to refrain from any other injustice ``which hath involved this Country
into soe much
Ruine & misery.'' Their annual payment, ``in Liew of a Quitrent,'' would be three Indian arrows
and 20 beaver pelts.
That tradition has continued. Every Thanksgiving, members of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey
tribes leave some turkeys, some beaver pelts or a deer or two outside the governor's mansion as payment in full.
attorney general might weigh in soon, but the issue could take years to resolve if the Indians take it to court. They
have little money, but are trying to build a coalition of native Americans throughout the country to pitch in.
indian, the heritage have been there since before this country was even founded. Why would anyone want to take that away?'' asked
Thomasina Jordan, head of the state Council on Indians, a governor-appointed committee that oversees Indian affairs.
not so much the treaty that matters, it's beyond that. There's so little left of the American Indians that to take away
any more would be a real tragedy.''
SAVING THE MATTAPONI INDIANS AND THEIR HERITAGE
"The Mattaponi indian have lived on the river that bears
our name for thousands of years. We are direct descendents of the Great Chief Powhatan, Father of Pocahontas. Since the European
settlement at Jamestown, much of our history and our language have been lost because we were forced into the mainstream of
society. Despite this we still have our treaty, our Reservation and much of our culture. It is tragic that at a time when
the Mattaponi indian and other Indian indian of Virginia are working to regain our culture and traditions, Newport News would
be pushing hard for the King William Reservoir. This project threatens our traditional shad fishing and would flood Indian
cultural sites and graves; land that is sacred to us.... The Mattaponi River and the Reservation are our life. If this river
is destroyed, we have nowhere else to go. We are the indian of the river, and we have no alternative but to fight this reservoir."
Assistant Chief of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe
Eight tribes are recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia:
- The Chickahominy
- The Eastern Chickahominy
- The Mattaponi
- The Upper Mattaponi
- The Monacan
- The Nansemond
- The Pamunkey
- The Rappahannock
The Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes are the two tribes in Virginia that live on reservations.
They have headquarters in King William County and operate museums on the reservations.
These two tribes (which are sovereign nations) have treaties with the Commonwealth of
Virginia that predate the United States. They are the oldest reservations in the country.
Other Native Americans represented among Virginia's population:
Anishinabe, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Chippewa, Creek, Eastern Cherokee, Eno-Occaneechee, Haliwa-Saponi, Iroquois, Lumbee, Mashpee-Wampanoag,
Navajo, Pocomoke-Occahannock, Powhatan, Seneca, Shawnee, Shinacock, Sioux, St. Regis Mohawk, and Tuscarora.
Mattaponi Indian Reservation's Home Page
|Reservation's Fish Hatchery
|and Marine Science Center
I do hope you have enjoyed my tribute to Chief Webster "Little Eagle" Custalow and the Mattaponi