Every August for 16 years we have attended the Nansemond Indian Tribe Pow Wow in the Chuckatuck Village area of Suffolk. We look forward to it each year, and wouldn't think of missing it.
The Nansemond tribe, part of the mighty Powhatan Empire, were among the first indigenous tribes encountered by English colonizers from both the Roanoke colony at Virginia Beach and the Jamestown colony on the north side of the James River.
The Nansemond River runs off of the James southern banks. There were four tribal settlements along the river. An attack by a scouting party led by John Smith and his men began a relationship of warfare between the Anglos and the tribes of the Powhatan Empire.
Ironically, the survival of the seeds of our Nation depended on the knowledge and aid of the people of the Empire.
Today, many of Virginia's Native American tribes still battle for federal recognition by the United States government. This would give them the (very meager) benefits allowed to federally recognized tribes and their people (such as the Sioux, or the Cherokee).
The Nansemonds, in particular, have been petitioning the local government requesting the deed to their ancestral tribal lands at Lone Star Lakes. They would like to build a recreation of a tribal town documented by John Smith. Mattanock Town would serve the community need for understanding and preservation of the remnants of a once great society.
I go to support them every year, and I hope you will too. The date for this year is August 16-17. For more information visit the official site of the Nansemond Tribe.
Here are some photos from previous years.