Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chickahominy Pow Wow

Powwow is how the English settlers pronounced the word "pauwau", which referred to a religious ritual among Indians in New England. As the settlers moved west, they called similar gatherings "powwows."

An example of a modern pow wow is the Chickahominy Indians' 57th annual Fall Festival and Powwow held at their tribal grounds in northwestern Charles City County. This powwow is a religious ceremony, picnic, reunion, craft show and festival. The Indian announcer explains to the crowd that this is not for show but a sharing of their culture with everyone there and that this is the way they respect and keep alive their Indian traditions.

The one main theme you come away with is that there is no "I" or "me", it is always "us" or "our" people in reference to everything. I was immensely impressed when the Chief of the Chickahominy, Stephen Adkins, read aloud a letter of congratulations from Virginia Governor Kane regarding the completion of a doctoral degree by one of the tribe members. In addition to her academic accomplishments, Mayflower, is also a member of the Homeland Security Team. Her mother and grandmother were there to look on and comment about her accomplishes and related it to their own education.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Potential Resolution in Six Months

On September 25, 2008 the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing regarding HR 1294. During this meeting committee chairman, Senator Byron L. Dorgan, said "Virginia tribes could see action within six months on their bill to grant them federal recognition." Not the news they were hoping to hear, but encouraging none the less.

This statement gave the Virginia Indians new hope and optimism for a bill they have been lobbying for since 1999 when Moran introduced the bill. They are optimistic the right thing is going to happen. Because of the current banking crisis Congress's attention was focused on a held over special session addressing the bailout of American banks.

Congress was set to adjourn on September 26, 2008. Doran told them to look ahead to next year. The 110th United States Congress was sworn in on January 4, 2007. It will be in session through noon, January 4, 2009. With a presidential election year upon us this little attention would be focused on Indian affairs.

This bill can never become law during the 110th US Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. The bill will again have to be reintroduced during the new 111th United States Congress.

The One Hundred Eleventh United States Congress will be the next meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It is scheduled to meet in Washington, DC from January 3, 2009 to January 3, 2011.

Nottoway POW WOW 2008

The Virginia Indian Tribe at the Nottoway Pow Wow held in Surry County, Virginia shared their culture with the crowd at this event. During the opening ceremonies the color guard included veterans of wars. The Indians always honor veterans at every event.

It was a very close net family affair that included everyone from the children to the elders.

The picture to the left depicts a male Indian from a Northern Canadian Indian tribe who participated in this event.

The concession booths included an assortment of Indian food in conjunction with hot dogs and hamburgers. The handmade crafts on display were also for sale to the public.

Indians tribes from as far away as Mexico demonstrated their cultural by dancing. Before each dance was performed someone would talk about the significance if the and how it related to their way of life. The image to the right shows a male Mexican Indian dancer in his native dress.

These Mexican dancers travel across the United States to share their culture and heritage. The tales of their forefather and life before the Spanish came to what we now call Mexico was translated into folk tales and demonstrated with dance in unison with nature which they relate to the four corners of the earth.

It was as much educational as it was cultural among the Indians tribes when they requested members of the audience to join them in the area. All participants and dancers had to enter the area using the east gate.

Dressed in authentic Indian regalia the Virginia Indians demonstrated that each dance had a different meaning. Some dances required a change of costumes. Certain dances were significant for males while others were only for females, but all were performed with precision, energy and enthusiasm. Indian pride runs deep at these events as expressed in the image below.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thomasina Bill Scheduled for Senate on Indian Affairs Meeting

The Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribe of Virginia bill is slated for a hearing on September 25, 2008.

Tribal advocates expressed disappointment with Congress set to adjourn next Friday without acting on the bill that their protracted fight for federal recognition will have to start over again next year.

The U.S. House unanimously passed the federal recognition bill (HR 1294) on May 8, 2007. Rep. Jim Moran, D-8th, first introduced it in 1999.

No tribal recognition bills have been considered this year. As Chairman for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee most of Dorgan’s work this Congress was dedicated to upgrading Indian health care legislation, which passed the Senate in February.

The purpose of the bill is Federal recognition which entitles the tribes for eligiblility for federal funds that include housing, education and senior care for the tribes’ estimated 3,000 members.

Tribes recognized under the bill include: Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Nansemond, and Monacan Indian Nation.

Virginia Enabling Authority

Virginia Indians have state recognition, but still no federal recognition.

The Virginia council held several business meetings during 2007.
  • Membership Changes
  • Legislative Action
  • State Recognition Activity
  • Fourth Annual Tribal Leadership Summit
  • Support of Jamestown 2007 Activities
  • Historic Highway Markers Program
The enabling authority which recognize Virginia Indians is §2.2-2628:

§ 2.2-2628. Council on Indians; membership; terms; chairman; compensation and expenses; chairman's executive summary.
A. The Council on Indians (the Council) is established as an advisory council, within the meaning of § 2.2-2100, in the executive branch of state government. The Council shall be composed of (i) the chiefs of the Virginia tribes officially recognized by the Commonwealth, (ii) two members appointed at large by the Governor from the Indian population residing in Virginia, and (iii) one nonvoting member appointed by the Governor who is a senior member of his staff. Each at-large member from the Indian population residing in the Commonwealth shall be required, as a condition of his appointment to the Council, to provide verification of his status as an enrolled member of a tribe recognized by either the Commonwealth, another state, or territory. Such verification shall consist of a valid tribal identification card, confirmation of membership through a central tribal registry, a written statement of a tribal chief or council confirming membership, or certification of the enrolled member status from a tribal office.
B. Each chief shall serve a term coincident with his term of office as chief and may appoint one designee who may serve as his representative at Council meetings and other Council activities. The senior member of the Governor's staff shall serve a term coincident with the member's term of office. After the original appointments, the appointments of the at large members shall be for terms of two years except appointments to fill vacancies, which shall be for the unexpired terms. At large members may be reappointed. However, no at large member shall be eligible to serve more than three successive two-year terms.
C. The Council shall annually elect a chair and vice-chair from among its membership. The meetings of the Council shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever the majority of the voting members so request. A majority of members shall constitute a quorum.
D. Members of the Council shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825. Funding for the costs of expenses of the members shall be provided by the Office of the Governor.
E. The chairman of the Council shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual executive summary of the interim activity and work of the Council no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.
(1983, c. 20, § 9-138.1; 1985, c. 448; 1989, c. 406; 1991, c. 563; 1994, c. 755; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 885; 2004, c. 142; 2005, cc. 61, 758; 2007, c. 915.)

Friday, September 5, 2008



I have noticed several inquiries from students asking how they can contact real Indians and do they exists.

Pow Wow's are a great way to learn from Native Americans and observe their traditions.

One source for Native American Events is to visit Pow

A source for Virginia Pow Wow's is Virginia Pow Wows.

The Nottway Indian Tribe in Surry County Virginia has a POW WOW scheduled for September 20 and 21, 2008. Visit their new web site for complete information.