Skip to comments.Virginia's Indian tribes leave wild game for Gov. Tim Kaine
Posted on 11/26/2009 5:49:17 PM PST by HokieMom
VIRGINIA, Va. --
It's probably the last time that Timothy M. Kaine will step outside his house in the morning to find two dead deer and a turkey on his doorstep.
But yesterday, the outgoing Virginia governor and his wife, first lady Anne Holton, stood outside the Executive Mansion in Richmond to preside over a Thanksgiving tradition that dates to the late 1600s -- Virginia's Indian tribes paying tribute to the governor.
On a damp and gray but mild morning, Kaine welcomed about 200 people, including members of several generations of Indians in traditional garb, as well as Capitol Square tourists and the families of state workers.
The annual gift of wild game commemorates the peace treaty with Virginia's Indian tribes that was signed by England's King Charles II and royal governor Herbert Jeffreys in 1677.
Kaine thanked tribe members -- "the first Virginians," whose ancestors greeted the first European settlers to Jamestown in 1607 and forged bonds of friendship and cooperation that helped them take root in the New World.
And the governor, who during his term has been an ardent supporter of efforts by the Virginia tribes to gain federal recognition, expressed optimism that it would happen before he leaves office in mid-January.
"This relationship is one of the things I give thanks for," he told the crowd.
A bill sponsored by Reps. James P. Moran, D-8th, and Robert J. Wittman, R-1st, cleared the U.S. House of Representatives this year. The legislation, slightly modified, is being carried in the Senate by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., where it recently cleared a committee on a voice vote.
Kaine, who has testified before Congress on behalf of the tribes, has called the federal government's failure to grant recognition a "grave injustice" that needs to be remedied.
(Excerpt) Read more at 2.timesdispatch.com ...
Nice tradition, thanks for sharing.
I think the deer and turkeys count as state taxes.
that’s nice....I should do that for governor Phil...he has some big racks right on his Belle Meade Chickering estate
“Traditional garb”? They usually look like extras from a low budget movie, it’s embarrassing.
In other years I’ve been able to find great photos so will keep looking.
These two “tribes” don’t have Federal recognition because they are not really tribes and probably never were. A bunch of people with some slight Indian heritage (and that is even doubtful) trying to suck off of the government teat.
I visited that lovely spot along the James River. Thanks for the post.
wow I didn’t know that 49 of our states had Indian tribes but Virginia had none. Either that or you don’t have any idea what the hell you are talking about. I think it’s the latter.
When George Allen was governor and the issue of federal recognition would come up, he’d tell the tribes they didn’t want to be affiliated with the federal government. “Stay off the reservation and keep your liberty and freedom,” he’d say. “You’re better off without them.”
There is a fair amount of bias toward unrecognized “tribes” seeking official recognition. There’s the money angle, and then there’s the history.
Most of these unrecognized groups, in the Carolinas, the Virginias, and southern Appalachia in general, have very colorful histories that are part factual and part fantasy. Historically, Virginia was something of a rigid place, at least the populated areas were. In the 1600’s you had indentured servants, some of whom chose to become outlaw and run from their obligation. Later, as indentured servitude fell out of favor due to no more desireable, arable land to grant under the headrights system, came the rise of the African slave trade. These people, too, would occasionally escape and run away.
Where did they end up? They ended up in several places. One was on the border of VA and NC. NC, due to squabbling among the Lords Proprietors in colonial times, remained wild and nearly ungoverned in many areas. Those outside of the law, for whatever reason, often fled here from VA. But, often having ties in and to VA, they chose a location with multiple jurisdictions, and would just go across the border, whenever things got too difficult. The same was true in what became TN after being ceded from NC to form that State. This persisted into the 20th century. See Goinstown for but one example.
The same happened in the remote areas of southwest VA, and what became Kentucky and later West Virginia. These white indentured servants on the lam, and black slaves on the run, found some level of acceptance in native settlements, which were also outside English “civilization,” and so they did what people do, they intermarried or otherwise bore children together, and the resulting, so-called triracial isolate communities were born.
There are many names for these people, above and beyond the tribal names, chosen for legitimate historical reasons in some instances, and chosen out of some flight of fancy in others. Melungeon, from the French melangine, is one term. Redbone is another. The Lumbee in the NC-SC borderlands are another such group. Derogatory names abound. Would-be (indian if they weren’t so black) is one of them.
Funny thing is, some of them claim to be descendants of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, and bear English surnames that support the claim. Early explorers of the southern Appalachians told tales of meeting “Portugee” there, who spoke English and had green eyes with curly dark hair. Genetic testing has been surprising, too, so it’s not all a confabulation.
The human element of early history down here is fascinating, convoluted and not very well known. I’m partial to supporting tribal recognition for several of these groups, for this reason, and for possible family relations as another. They’ve been outcast long enough, close to four centuries, and if this brings them around and gives them legitimacy, more power to them.
Others profoundly disagree, and I do understand the basis for the disagreement. They just need to tread very carefully, if verging on mocking the legitimacy of any claims such people make, as to native heritage. You just never know who you’re talking to, or about, on an online forum, and others might just be far better informed.
My particular connection goes back to James Cittie, with legendary claims of descent from the half brother of Chief Powhatan and Mary Sizemore. This half brother was Chief Opechancanough, purportedly a half breed himself, with a Spanish father, which possibly explains his later dealings with the Spanish. Others claim direct descent from William Sizemore and the “princess” daughter of Powhatan herself. Some say Pocahontas, but that was not possiblel; others realize this and claim Matoaka. Genetic testing, again, shows native heriage in the direct male line, so the former seems more likely to be accurate.
The “tribe” to which many of these NC, VA, TN and KY mountain Sizemores belong is the Whitetop Laurel tribe, since the Cherokee didn’t accept them back during the census in the early 1900’s. I’ve got seven people in my maternal lines, who were on that census, known as the Guion-Miller Rolls. There were others, such as the Dawes Rolls, known to Cherokee in Oklahoma.
It’s complicated. But, people do honor their ancestors, their people, whoever they might have been. A southern thing, I guess. And, for the record, the first Thanksgiving WAS at Berkeley Hundred in 1619, before our mythical, so-called Pilgrim Fathers ever blundered into Cape Cod due to a navigational error, while actually on their way to Virginia themselves. How anyone could claim otherwise with a straight face, has always amazed me.
Thank you for the detailed historical perspective. Interesting that events that occurred hundreds of years ago still hold so much meaning today.
I’ve made a point of trying to highlight US and colonial history that is little known, since joining FR. Some of it just got lost over time, some of it was deliberately concealed due to the biases of the era, and some of it was a deliberate snub.
Lack of recognition of the Regulator War in NC, as the earliest shots fired in the Revolution, is but one example. A George Washington quote, referring to the region of NC he was travelling through at the time, as “Regulator country,” is the source of my screen name. The bizarre omission of Jamestown in our national founding mythos is another.
Truth is good. It also sheds much light upon certain modern circumstances, that make little sense otherwise. What’s that old quote about the past not really being past? It certainly applies.
Yup ..... Wager, Shannon & Deeds.
The overwhelming motivation for these tribes to seek federal recognition is not for historical purposes and posterity. It’s so they can build a damned casino!
If they’ve been bringing game to the Governor’s Mansion to commemorate Thanksgiving for 350 years, I’d say there’s a tad bit of historical purpose and posterity to it.
Virginia Tribes: Recognition
When Capt. John Smith walked ashore at Jamestown, he did not encounter an uninhabited land. Indians preceded him. Numerous place names and other references attest to the Indian presence. Yet except for the retelling of quaint stories about Pocahontas, Virginia long pushed its original residents out of sight and mind. For the commonwealth’s tribes, federal recognition at least symbolically would help to correct the record.
Legislation to confer tribal recognition is working its way through Congress, and is given its best chance for success ever. Fears that recognition could lead to casinos apparently have been overcome.
< break >