Virginia Indian Heritage Day

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Virginia Indian Heritage Day  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jamestown Settlement and the Virginia Indian community will present “Virginia Indian Heritage Day” on Saturday, June 26, 2010, featuring panel discussions with Virginia Indian tribal leaders, presentations of intertribal dancing and drumming, special gallery tours and a children’s craft activity. Overview of dance circle lr1.jpg

The event is being held in conjunction with the special exhibition “Werowocomoco: Seat of Power,” featuring more than 60 artifacts spanning nearly 10,000 years from one of the most significant sites in Virginia Indian history. Werowocomoco was the principal residence of Powhatan, paramount chief of 30-some Indian tribes in Virginia’s coastal region at the time English colonists arrived in 1607, and was an important Virginia Indian political, spiritual and social center predating the Powhatan chiefdom. Located on the York River in Gloucester County, Werowocomoco is the place where Captain John Smith was taken prisoner by Powhatan in 1607 and first met Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas.

Developed in cooperation with the Werowocomoco site owners Robert F. and C. Lynn Ripley, the Werowocomoco Research Group and the Virginia Indian Advisory Board and funded by a grant from James City County, the special exhibition is the first time that artifacts from Werowocomoco have been on display in a museum setting. The story of the Powhatan Indians in 17th-century Virginia is examined daily in Jamestown Settlement permanent gallery exhibits and a re-created Powhatan Indian village, where historical interpreters discuss and demonstrate the Powhatan way of life.

Archaic Palmer Quartzite Point - Ripley photo1.jpg  Archaic Palmer quartzite projectile point from Werowocomoco, 8000-7200 B.C.,  courtesy of Robert F. and C. Lynn Ripley.  

Werowocomoco Panel Discussions
At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Virginia Indian tribal leaders and scholars will gather for “Werowocomoco: A Native Perspective,” a panel discussion in which participants will explore the significance of Werowocomoco and what the site means to descendent Virginia Indian communities today. Contemporary Virginia Indians have played an integral role in the archaeological research at Werowocomoco.

The panel will include Mark Custalow, assistant chief of the Mattaponi Tribe and member of the Virginia Indian Advisory Board; Martin Gallivan, College of William and Mary assistant professor of anthropology and guest curator of the “Werowocomoco: Seat of Power” special exhibition; Jeff Brown, a member of the Pamunkey Tribe and field technician on the Werowocomoco archaeological research project; and Ashley Atkins, a member of the Pamunkey Tribe and College of William and Mary anthropology graduate student.

Intertribal Dancing & Children’s Craft
The Virginia Intertribal Drum and Dancers, in full regalia, will present traditional and contemporary tribal dances at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Chickahominy Tribe Second Assistant Chief Wayne Adkins will offer descriptions of each dance. At 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., children can take part in making clay pinch-pots.

Powhatan and Paspahegh in Jamestown Settlement galleriesGallery Exhibits & Interpretive Tours
In addition to the “Werowocomoco: Seat of Power” special exhibition, visitors can learn about Powhatan Indians of 17th-century Virginia through special tours of the museum’s permanent exhibition galleries, which chronicle the nation’s 17th-century beginnings in Virginia in the context of its Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures and examine the impact of the Jamestown settlement. Twenty-minute gallery tours will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m.

Special emphasis on Powhatan Indians in 1600s Virginia will be presented in daily orientation tours, held at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m., of the re-created Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and 1610-14 colonial fort, and riverfront discovery area. 

Visitors can explore the Powhatan way of life in the re-created Powhatan Indian village, based Jamestown Settlement Powhatan village corn grinder1.jpgon archaeological findings at a site once inhabited by Paspahegh Indians, the Powhatan tribal group closest to Jamestown, and descriptions recorded by English colonists. In a setting of reed-covered houses, a crop field and a ceremonial circle of carved wooden posts, historical interpreters grow and prepare food, process animal hides, make tools and weave natural fibers into cordage. Food preparation will be demonstrated throughout the day, and a program on Powhatan weapons and technology will be presented at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. In the riverfront discovery area, visitors can learn about Powhatan methods of canoe making, fishing and trade.




Administered by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia that is accredited by the American Association of Museums.
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