Congratulations are in Order: The Pamukey Indian Tribe Receives Positive News this Year

Chief Kevin Brown of the Pamunkey Tribe photo credit: Indianz.Com

Chief Kevin Brown of the Pamunkey Tribe photo credit: Indianz.Com

In celebration of both Native American Heritage month and Thanksgiving in the United States I am honoring Native Americans today by sharing positive news from the Native American community. This year, the Pamukey Indian Tribe from Virginia received federal recognition from the federal government. The following article announced their recognition by the federal government Pamukey Tribe.

 

The Pamukey tribe, which has been seeking federal recognition for the last 35 years and has spent $2 million in trying to obtain recognition from the government, will become the first Native American tribe from Virginia to gain recognition from the federal government. Although the Commonwealth of Virginia has recognized the Pamukey tribe as a Native American tribe since 1646, the federal government did not grant them recognition until the summer of 2015.

 

The Pamukey tribe is located in Virginia and they claim Pocahontas as one of their ancestors. And I am not talking here about the sugary, Disney version of Pocahontas and John Smith but the actual story of the first real encounter between a European colonizer and a Native American.

 

Pocahontas real name was Matoaka, although she is sometimes called Amonute. Her people, a group of about thirty Algonquian-speaking tribes located in what we know today as Tidewater, Virginia, is known as the Powhatan tribe.

"Pocahontas saves the life of John Smith" by New England Chromo. Lith. Co. - Library of Congress, Photographs Division, LC-USZC4-3368 Licensed under Public Domain

“Pocahontas saves the life of John Smith” by New England Chromo. Lith. Co. – Library of Congress, Photographs Division, LC-USZC4-3368 Licensed under Public Domain

When the English colonizers first arrived at the shores of what would later be named Virginia, the Pamukey were one of the powerful groups of the Powhatan chiefdom. I discussed more on chief Powhatan in my post Jamestown: Rediscovering the Powhatans of Virginia.

 

The Pamukey tribe and the Mattaponi tribe are the only two tribes that still retain reservation lands assigned by the 1646 and 1677 treaties with the English colonial government.

 

The Pamukey have been able to survive because of their ability to adapt as a tribe.

 

In an effort to spread positive news from the Native American community as well as to honor today’s important day and in recognition of Native American Heritage month here in the United States, I want to congratulate the Pamukey Indian Tribe for obtaining their well-deserved federal recognition.

 

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