This post is dedicated to both the Native American Heritage Month celebration in the United States as well as Aculturame’s fourth Anniversary.
When I started this website my first post in 2012 was about The Virginia Indian Festival. It was this event that first inspired me to share my knowledge and passion for the Native American community as well as other underrepresented groups.
I wanted to take an opportunity to celebrate Aculturame’s 4th anniversary by revisiting my first post and giving you an update on The Virginia Indian Festival and the Virginia Indian Tribes.
Since I attended The Virginia Indian Festival the Virginia Indian Tribes have had positive outcomes in the last four years. In that blog post I mentioned that many people in the state of Virginia were unaware that there were still tribes in their state. A lot Virginians still don’t know this. Currently there are 11 state-recognized Native American tribes and one, the Pamukey Tribe, recently won their 30-year battle to gain federal recognition. The Pamukey Tribe is now recognized not only at the state level but also as a federally recognized tribe. I explained more on this subject on my 2015 post Congratulations are in order: The Pamukey Indian Tribe receives positive news this year.
The Pamukey Tribe is considered one of the oldest documented tribes in Virginia. They are part of the group of tribes that the legendary Pocahontas belonged to; it is only right that they are given the proper recognition. Having federal recognition means that the tribe will now have access to funds so they can continue their efforts towards revitalization and preservation of their heritage and culture.
On the same blog, I mentioned how impressed I was by the passion and eagerness of the children and teenagers from the Virginia Tribes that were present at the festival to educate the audience on their native traditions. Watching these young people play the drums and perform dances of their Rappahannock Tribe was exciting and delivered a feeling of hope not only for the Native American community but for all of those who would like to have their cultural identity remain a part of their lives.
The audience was infused with energy and interest, wanting to know more about them, about their music, their dances, and their culture. Since I first attended this festival in 2012 the number of visitors every year has continued to increase from year to year. Additionally, the tribe has been able to create more awareness and improved promotion of it throughout the county and the state.
I encourage parents, elders, guardians, and stewards of young people to take the time and teach their children about their cultural identity; about where they come from and where their ancestors came from. What a better way to invest all the knowledge and experience that older people have than by passing it on to their next generation.
I hope this blog has been educational and inspiring to you as it has been for me in these last four years. There is so much to learn and experience about Native communities even within my own culture.
During Native American Heritage Month let us remember why we are really celebrating Thanksgiving Day this year. Let us remember that Native Americans are still here. Looking at history one can see that these communities have often been ignored and ostracized and their contributions to society tend to go unnoticed. However, it is good to know that there are still people like me who want to know and learn more about them and want to hear their stories and want to ensure they are given the place they deserve in our history and society.
Happy Native American Heritage Month!