Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Virginia Indian Tribes

Part 1

The Chickahominy Indian Tribe, whose name has been translated as “course ground corn people,” was officially recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly on March 25, 1983. With approximately 875 Chickahominy people living in the vicinity of the Tribal Center, the Chickahominy are based in Charles City County near the many towns along the Chickahominy River where the tribe lived in 1600. The Chickahominy had early contact with the English settlers because of their proximity to Jamestown, and they taught early colonists how to survive by growing and preserving their own food. As the English prospered and claimed more land, the Chickahominy tribe was forced out of their homeland. The treaty of 1646 awarded reservation land to the Chickahominy and other tribes in the “Pamunkey Neck” area of Virginia where the Mattaponi reservation exists todays. After 1718, they were forced off this reservation, and over the ensuing years Chickahominy families moved to Chickahominy Ridge in present day Charles City County where they now reside. Here the tribe purchased land and established the Samaria Baptist Church, which remains an important focal point for the community.

The Chickahominy Indian Eastern Division (CIED) also originated with the historic Chickahominy tribe. This tribe, based in New Kent County, was established in the early 20th century and has approximately 130 members today. Their members established the Tsena Commocko Baptist Church, and in recent years have purchased approximately 40 acres as tribally held land.