Thursday, February 25, 2021

THE LONGEST WALK, 43 YEARS LATER

An Indigenous Washingtonian Welcomes the 1978 Longest Walk

by the Powhatan Museum of Washington, DC, the first and only site dedicated to
the city's oririginal inhabitants and their descendants. -powhatanmuseum.com

Figure 1: A pensive Georgia Mills Jessup (Pamunkey) a DC teacher/artist/administrator in hot July, 1978 on 16th Street, NW the city of her birth. Number 13 of a centuries old DC family of 21 Native American siblings indigenous to DC, MD and Virginia, a part of her ancestral Powhatan Paramountcy, she came out of her DC home to support the hundreds of the Longest Walk participants.– Photo by her niece, Dr. Phoebe Farris (Powhatan Renape/Pamunkey).

 

In 1978, the "'LongestWalk' (below) drew attention to American Indian concerns. Several hundred American Indian activists and supporters marched for five months from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to protest threats to tribal lands and water rights. The Longest Walk is the last major event of the Red Power Movement."

 

Figure 2: The Longest Walk which ended here on DC’s Mall as the largest gathering of Native American tribal members in the city. If you were not in Washington, DC in !978, you missed it.

 

So, what has changed in the Nation’s Capital since then? With the Republican Senators blocking Representative Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) from becoming the Secretary of the Interior and its  first Native American Cabinet member? Not much. Anti-Indian senators doing the bidding of the crude oil industry and other backers are questioning this indigenous woman of color’s “qualifications.” Not many disparaging genocidal views on Indigenous people have changed today. 

 


Figure 3: Representative Deb Haaland, Esq who at this writing is being rejected by immigrant descended anti-Native racists for a no-brainer post as steward of the land which is her people’s Indigenous tradition. Her New Mexican lineage goes back to over 40 generations, and thousands of years of Amerindian presence in America before her Capitol Hill colleagues who are fighting against her confirmation.

 

The irony is that Republicans on the Hill have a chance to redress the wrongs which were protested forty-three years ago by honoring a Native American (a woman of color) and begin to correct the continued atrocities against them and their sacred sites. But, they go in the opposite direction. Regardless of the historical acts of violence on Native Americans the issue continues to be that only money talks. 


Native Americans have long since buried the tomahawk in spite of broken one-sided treaties; given America its Constitution and a deliberative body via their caucus; and had American wealth wrested from their Turtle Island territories. America boasts to the world about its material richness gained from the bodies of its Amarindians, and speak glowingly about an unatained democracy. Yet, Native American reservations resemble internment camps ravaged by the Corona virus, alcoholism, diabetes, suicides, disappeared women and many poor country ills. Their plights when considered, makes the United States a country composed of a patchwork of third world sovereign nations within one of the richest "First World" countries on the planet. All because of endemic neglect, greed and racism.

 

True to the traditions of the dominant society's European origins, America is economically and politically run like a medieval society with a veneer of democracy which does not need a titled king and queen, royals or nobles over vassals. The Longest Walk highlighted the only added feature to America’s struggle with equality, a fight against the creation of an indigenous untouchable underclass. These truths we can see now playing out in the Senate’s hesitancy to confirm Representative Deb Haaland to a trusted position on President Joe Biden’s multiethnic cabinet. 

In spite of our president's efforts, the fight continues for equal rights and representation to higher offices by people of color. 

Confirm a Native American for the selected Cabinet post.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

A Native Acknowledgement

By the PowhatanMuseum.com

THE NO-BRAINER NOMINATION

WELCOME AGAIN TO ATTAN AKAMIK (Our Fertile Country)

Continue to Walk in Beauty!

Figure 1: Representative Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) welcoming DC's local indigenous Auld family to the US Capitol where Kiros' ancestral relative, Wahunsenachaw (Powhatan II) caucused during his 16th century lifetime.

L: Kiros Auld (Pamunkey/Tauxenent) represented the Indigenous Washingtonian presence of a Powhatan Paramountcy descendant to his ancestral Attan Akamik,(Our Fertile Country) and its city of Washington, DC, the Land Acknowledged “Place of the Caucus.” This was the location next to the Tiber Creek on Capitol Hill which was liked on caucus visits with surrounding aboriginal nations by the 16th to 17th century Wahunsenachaw (or Powhatan II), the Pamunkey Algonquian leader on whose Paramountcy's territory the US Capital was built. Kiros maternal descent is from the tribe of Wahunsenachaw and his daughter, Pocahontas whose portrait adorns the Capitol Rotunda. Kiros who was born in and attended  schooling through to Howard University's School of Law in the Nation's Capital, hails from the only two surviving of the three original District of Columbia and its Metro Area's Algonquian tribes, the Pamunkey and Tauxenent/Dogue. These local nations and its many living descendants are historically documented as living within the original Capital City’s boundary stones which came from ancient ancestral quarries which his 19th century DC Area relatives later mined. The third tribe of Naoctchtank who had a beaver pelt trading town next to the Anacostia River in Southeast DC became extinct after around 1668 when its last remnant was recorded as moving North to Ohio from a temporary stay on the Tauxenent's Roosevelt Island. The gap left by Southeast DC's extinct, distinctly named Algonquian Naoctchtank tribe is recently being questionably claimed by three new state recognized Iroquoian identified Maryland tribes whose names were never located within the Capital City.

Since the Presidential elections, much has been written in our leading national media outlets about Senator Kamala Harris. She has been introduced as a groundbreaking biracial woman of color’s ascendancy to the role of Vice President of the United States. On the other hand, our nation institutionalzed amnesia towards Indigenous Americans is about to change. Not surprisingly, almost nothing is yet popularly known about this country’s other first, a female descendant of indigenous custodians of Turtle Island (or the North American continent).

 Debra Anne Haaland is that Native which our city’s indigenous Powhatan Museum will here honor. She is a lawyer, Congresswoman from the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico with vast life experiences and an inherited ancient legacy concerning the role which she is about to play as the Secretary of the Interior.

 (Her live video congratulating President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris https://twitter.com/i/status/1351992670219087874)

 However, not surprisingly, as is ever true about national exclusion of Indigenous people from our history, there has been less press coverage about this other American first. The no-brainer elevation to the Presidental Cabinet is of a Native American descended from custodians of our Mother Earth, America’s indigenous Amerindians.

 


Figure 2: Politically and socially astute Secretary nominated Debra Anne Haaland, Esq. (Laguna Pueblo) with the seal of the US Department of the Interior whose design, for the first time reflects the aspirations of that Federal agency.


Honoring an Esteemed Native Leader

Optics is important and for the first time in our history there is no more appropriate form of American symbolism as the distinctly Native American images above.

 This Presidential season has probably provided American history with the most ground-breaking firsts in inclusively. It is right up there with the first female Vice President who is the also a uniquely tri-racial person of Asian Indian and Afro-Euro Jamaican ancestry in that leadership office. Added to the Presidential Cabinet makeup is Representative Debra Anne Haaland, Esq (Laguna Pueblo) a Native American woman. Also included in the lineup is young Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay Cabinet member. But, in our opinion the most groundbreaking decision is the inclusion of a Native American woman as the Secretary of the Interior. She is an indigenous New Mexican who is tribally enrolled in the historic Laguna Pueblo Nation, a people whose ancient legacy includes the second indigenous North American contact by the arriving 15th century Spanish. To them, her homeland was a second mystical set of Seven Golden Cities of Cibola. The other was the "Fountain of Eternal Youth" in Bimini or La Florida.

 Deb Haaland has known homelessness and poverty while struggling to attain her life's goals. Her life’s experiences have been one of overcoming the struggle of being a single mom while balancing the raising of an extremely talented daughter, and starting her first degree from the University of New Mexico, culminating with a law degree while balancing motherhood. Learning about her life’s expiries is inspirational since she has had a passion for helping people from a place of her own understanding of society’s historic neglect of its Native Americans whose people are ironically keepers of the land. This history places her in the right position as a caretaker of our planet since, as in Native traditions, how we treat our mother, the Earth is linked to our own survival as a specie. With this time where sensitivity to Mother Earth’s health is at a crucial juncture of a planetary climate change, Deb Halland’s role in America’s environmental path is no less prophetic as it is fitting of her heritage.

 We in Washington, DC know too well of the dismissive agenda of not honoring the city’s surviving indigenous Pamunkey and Tauxenent people of the historic Powhatan Paramountcy and the current attempts by outsiders to resurrect a dead tribe in threir own name. So, it is therefore easy for us at the Powhatan Museum of Washington, DC to welcome the Honorable Deb Haaland to our ancestral homeland of Attan Akamik, to share in the founding history of Our Fertile Country as an honored guest from the sacred West. Although she came as a Congresswoman we tribute her in her new caretaker role as our city’s highest ranking Native American. Her placement will directly impact on the lives and fortunes of living American Indians. As with America’s significant world position of planetary influence, she too, as it is with the Vice President Harris, provide a role model for all women and girls worldwide, whether Native or non-Native. Too often the Eurocentric tradition is to only honor European men and dead Indians. President Biden has broken yet again another racist mold.

Rising From a Rich History

What makes Representative Haaland a perfect fit for her cabinet role as Secretary of the Interior is her unique history. Her's is not much different from Kamala Harris’ legacy who was born from the other ancient Asiatic civilization of the Hindus. Deb Haaland hails from another of the planet’s noteworthy ancient cultures with thousands of years honed in uniquely accomplished Amerindian hemisphere replete with multi-storied stone and adobe apartnents, large uniquely organized pyramid cities and temple topped mound builders, accomplished agronomists, mathematicians, scientists and sky-mapping astronomers. Both people are the confident beneficiaries of ancient Asiatic cultures, one the daughter of a “true” Indian immigrant and the other an Indigenous descendant of this soil. These Eurocentric termed “prehistoric” legacies are especially pertinent to the American Experiment. As Secretary Haaland, her role will be seen as a Native American “keeper of the land” with a connection to thousands of years in this hemisphere’s human development. Here, the optics of her role of land husbandry is more profound when one scratches her cultural surface.

 We are the sum total of our history on this planet. And as we see, Deb Haaland is the byproduct of a uniquely rich Amerindian legacy, the things that often shapes one’s world view. Yes, she is a contemporary Native woman steeped in the legacy of early Spanish survival and the imported laws of this land. So, let’s examine her Native roots.

Her ancestral legacy predates her people’s encounter with the gold-seeking Spanish Empire’s newly acquired Aztec Empire of Central Mexico in the 16th century. This was the time of the Zuni of Hawikuh, and her pueblo neighbor’s 1539 encounter with Mustafa Azemmouri. Called Estavanico (Little Stephen) he was a 1600 born multilingual enslaved Black (Moorish) adventurer/ambassador cooperatively seeking the mythological Las Siete Ciudades de Cibola (the seductive Seven Cities of Gold). This Mexican territory was later acquired in 1853 by equally encroaching English-American expansion.

 Deb Haaland’s mother was an ethnic Laguna Pueblo. Her Norwegian American father was a decorated Vietnam War veteran who is appropriately buried with full honors across the Potomac River’s in our land acknowledged Powhatan Paramountcy Territory located Arlington National Cemetery. However, the original name of Deb Haaland’s Pueblo people is Kawaik in their language. “Pueblo” means “Town or vilage” and “Laguna” (”Lake”) in the imported Spanish tongue, still used along with their indigenous Kres language group which has continued to be spoken. Their ethnic designation, “Pueblo” was derived from the multi-story type of indigenous structural town-like style of architectural settlements made of sandstone and adobe from which their villages were built. Their buildings, gleaming in the sunlight, were initially mistakenly believed by Estavanico as evidence of the existence of the mythical gold rich shining City of Cibola, and conveyed this information back to Mexico.  This myth which spurred the Spanish adventurer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, originated from an escaping Catholic monastery’s gold vestments and a raiding Islamic encounter event in Europe. Then, the Americas and Deb Haaland’s ancestral area were considered the location of some European tales. The 1540 Francisco Vásquez de Coronado scouting encounter ahead of that infamous Spanish expedition undiplomatically spearheaded by Estavanico, ended tragically as the scout was killed for insisting on extracting Zuni women from his hosts.

 Unfortunately, Americans are rarely taught the histories of past and living Native Americans and their leaders. From an area known for its uranium, undisputed ceramic beauty, turquoise and silver jewelry, and the fabled land of the Seven Cities of Gold to DC’s Shining City on the Hill, let us hope that Secretary Haaland’s welcomed role model presence encourages us all to discover more about our rich Amerindian hemisphere.


NOTES:

Related

  1. Duties of the Secretary of the Interior include management and conservation of most federal landand natural resources, leading such agencies as the Bureau of Land Managementand natural resources, leading agencies as Bureau of Indian Affairs, the US Geological Survey, and the National Park Service.
  2.  
    Tribal Seal

  1. Laguna Pueblo is a Spanish name from the first European contact, was established by the Ka-waik or "lake people" a traditionally self-governing agriculturalists community. It is the largest pueblo of the Keresan people, located off the famous Route 66, forty-five miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico along the San Jose River. It's people have resided in that area of the US since 3000 BCE. This pueblo is one of 100 which are still inhabited.

  1. Cibola is both the recent name of one of thirty-three counties of New Mexico and an early mythological Seven Golden Cities of a fabled location from early Spanish tales.The story was believed by the arriving Spanish in Mexico as the location  be found in today's New Mexico.   See:Seven Cities of Gold - Wikipedia .


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE WEEK No. 3

THE DISMISSED FOUNDER

Truth & Reconciliation


Edited by Kiros Auld (Pamunkey/Tauxenent)


Above: An idealized image of Wahunsenacawh, the Second Powhatan,
a Founding Father and originator of Capitol Hill’s deliberative body from
which we derived the Powhatan Algonquian word and process, a caucus.


Wahunsenacawh, a six-footer in his 60s, publicly known as Powhatan, in spite of his fame, is an American enigma. This most dismissed Amerindian statesman shares the anonymity awarded to today’s Native American populations and their histories. Ironically, one of his many children from over 100 ceremonial wives, a minor daughter, Pocahontas, is better known than North America’s most powerful 17th century leader. To better understand the American Government’s adoration for her, they prominently installed a gigantic painting of her baptism in the Capitol Rotunda. Afflicted by the Stockholm syndrome and coerced into bigamy, she achieved the status of virtual Christian sainthood in America’s pro-accommodationist Eurocentric history. Even less known is one of her brothers, Taux Powhatan whose mother was a Tauxenent of Fairfax County origin, and one of WashingtonDC’s three historically named tribal nations.


From North Carolina northward, Powhatan II's territory spanned large areas within the state of eastern Virginia. This expansion was less in southern Maryland and included at least the North and Southwest quadrants of District of Columbia, part of his ever expanding northern border on the Cohonkarutan or Potomac River. Yet, some writers today have belatedly sought to either diminish his influence over his domain or include petty kingdoms within his unique political category. His negotiating prowess among highly individualistic Native personas was misunderstood by the English who equated him with a European despot. Inter-ethnic marriage (via warfare?) and trade came with favored status. Pearls, mostly worn by the nobility, came from northern Iroquoian mussels while prized trade copper came from Iroquoians to the South. Siouans to the Piedmont west, were not similarly regarded by the Powhatans. Expansionist Iroquoian and Siouan competition was the norm that had spanned eons. The later demise of the Anacostia River’s Nacotchtank of DC after English contact is evidence of a more violent approach to acquiring trade goods. In this instance it was the highly prized Nochotank beaver pelts which became the envy of English (Jamestown), Algonquian (Patawomeck) and Iroquoian (Susquehannock) speakers.



Truth: Correcting and amending America’s history about its overlooked Amerindian founder. 
Reconciliation: Reconcile America’s stepchild treatment towards its indigenous people

In National Native Heritage Month, our city in the District of Columbia needs a South African styled Truth & Reconciliation with its Indigenous descendants.

Wahunsenachaw’s territorial paramountcy began in Tidewater Virginia where his mother was born a Pamunkey and his father, Powhatan the First, had reportedly come from the South to organize a Central American styled eight nation Algonquian confederation. The Pamunkey, whose spiritually associated name was the “Place of the Sweat” was a temple city. They were the leading nation in  the chiefdom that became a paramountcy under Wahunsenacawh. Although the collective Indigenous name for the people that the English called “Powhatans,” self-identified by descriptively named maternal tribal origin. 


The vast Powhatan territorial influence began at Tsenacomoco in a territory also called Attan Akamik, meaning “Our Fertile Country.” Wahunsenacawh is popularly written about by his title, “Powhatan” or “Dreamer.” He therefore, was Powhatan the Second (Powhatan II) whose Paramountcy’s domain included five American historical capitals. First was Tsenacocomoco, second was Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg (both during the British colonial era), next was the Seat of the Confederacy headquartered at Richmond. And finally in the far northern boundary, our Nation’s Capital of Washington, DC, reputed as his favorite place to caucus with surrounding Amerindian nations. Although an Algonquian werowance (leader) of a vast kingdom or paramountcy, it was chronicled that, for whatever reason, “Powhatan never left his area” of dominance


Are our children adequately informed about the Amerindian Hemisphere in which they live?


My answer is, NO. My experiences in the American educational system from the elementary to the postgraduate levels have formed my view of its collective ignorance about our hemisphere’s Amerindian histories and locale. Married for 54 years, right out of Howard University in 1966, into a Washington Metropolitan Area Powhatan Paramountcy family with educators and historians, I taught in the Washington, DC educational systems for 38 years. Throughout my teaching tenure my main concern had been to correct the benign avoidance of Indigenous Amerindian influences in the forming of our societies in the Americas. I began with both my Columbus encountered Caribbean homeland and in my adopted city of the District of Columbia, which was ironically named after the enigmatic man who had never set foot here. Thank goodness for National Native American Heritage Month, which was intended as remedial courses centered on the Indigenous people of this land. However, the thrust of the month’s original educational intention, is yet to be realized in 2020. Confusion about Amerindian histories and cultures abound in their hemisphere which is often confused as "European” or “African,“ depending on the dominant island or continental group. North America is envisioned as if it is geographically located in Europe, while some Caribbean Islands identify as culturally African. South and Central America are identified by their Spanish language and are therefore called “Hispanic." To underscore the notion of geographic confusion, a large sign on a Jamestown, Virginia wall states that "America is a suburb of Europe."

 

Popular American history is unabashedly Eurocentric. Except for the Egyptian styled obelisk, called the iconic Washington Monument, our city is replete with "Egypto-Greek" influenced structures intended as monuments to power in order to concretize an imported European ethnic dominance. Our educational institutions have followed suit. 

 

Most citizens, therefore, have scant information on the Amerindian core upon which the foundation of the American culture was built. For example, the Iroquoian “Great Laws of Peace,” a home-grown source of the US Constitution, formed the foundation of America’s democratic notions that was once euphemistically ascribed to the distant Greeks. Even touted “American Individualism" is Native American based, first emulated and adopted by arriving subjugated English royalists. The increasing numbers of arriving English indentures were then free to hunt deer that did not belong to the king, marry Native women to acquire female-owned land, and go Native. Adapting to and surviving in an alien Amerindian hemisphere had to be taught to the arriving Spanish and later English, as exemplified by the latter's Squanto’s tutelage in corn planting in New England, and Pocahontas’ lessons on curing tobacco leaves, the Caribbean’s Taino Amerindian’s sacred weed turned cash crop which financed the American Revolution.

 

However, before the Iroquoian Confederation’s influence on the US Constitution through Benjamin Franklin and other contributors from the 13 colonies, there was the Virginia colony's Powhatan Algonquian caucus which left an indelible mark on the American form of governance. This Algonquian political structure is still practiced today where it was fathered by Wahunsennachaw and reborn on Capitol Hill. Not all of the tenants of Great Laws of Peace were immediately adopted by the US Constitution. Notably missing from the US version was the Iroquoian law where "women played an important role in politics under the Great Law.” In the US Constitution, women's rights came much later.

 

The Powhatans were the "most complex societies, from a sociological perspective, then extant in the eastern North America” (Rountree). They were a well travelled cosmopolitan people of the Eastern Woodlands whose political dominance was recognized by both their indigenous neighbors and the arriving Europeans. They were admired, envied or feared by whomever they interacted. There is no question about the dominance of Wahunsenachaw’s Powhatan Paramountcy over an extremely large expanding territory that was greater than the size of today’s Maryland and Washington, DC combined. Wahunsennachaw's governance was not tyrannical nor was it controlling, but reflected various levels of independence and interdependence in a geography rife with ethnic competition between the three major linguistic groups. His gift of persuasion and oratory is exemplified by his recorded speech to Captain John Smith.

 

"In the past three decades, anthropologists and historians have become more critical of early colonial sources and less willing to follow their own predecessors’ naming practices without having very good reason to do so” (Rountree).

 


The cover design of a definitive book edited by Dr. Helen Rountree,
anthropologist and historian, who is an expert on the Powhatan Paramountcy. The illustration of Powhatan holding court was recorded by Captain John Smith.


Werowance Wahunsenachaw’s Territorial Claim

For the past 401 years, except for the Powhatan Paramountcy, no other Native American political group in the Metropolitan DC Area has captured the attention of historians. The importance of this Native political force is evidenced by the many publications, treatise, movies, internet & media coverage, locales, personalities, and wars associated with the Powhatans. No other Amerindian polities in our DC Metropolitan area have been so studied.

Not so, for her father who was the person responsible for allowing the eventual creation of the United States of America on his territory. Local fame also eludes his succeeding brother, 
Opechancanough whose Anglo-Powhatan wars were for America’s first homeland security efforts. It is not an exaggeration to say that without Wahunsenacawh, there would be no country called “America." In the current era of inclusiveness, this is a call for historical truth and reconciliation with America’s most downtrodden population whose lives also matter.

Land Acknowledgement

At least the three countries officially have a Land Acknowledgement program. In the US, this practice of honoring Indigenous territory is not yet governmentally instituted. Colonial confiscated homeland is in the bullseye of history. Some private American entities have risen to this noble call for acknowledging the specific Indigenous Amerindian people on whose ancestral territory their structures were built. 

 

Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as more and more of private US institutions are coming to grips with the Truth portion of this honorable proposal. Reconciliation requires more intestinal fortitude. Reparations is only spoken about as redressing African enslavement and not that of Amerindians who were the first in that "peculiar institution.' The truth & reconciliation rationale is based on addressing the pervasive wrongs of European colonization, annexation of indigenous territories and lionizing land grabbing “Settlers."


How is a Powhatan Land Acknowledgement done?


A DC based Land Acknowledgement video with Rose Powhatan (Pamunkey/Tauxenent) done for the Sankofa Foundation’s commemoration of
the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

Go to YouTube if video doesn’t pay https://youtu.be/lbntMSQXGiE

 

RECAP

Where did he get his political savvy? For these answers, one must look at what was reported by his people, his title and at least a physical cultural retention, funerary mound-building for Wahunsenacawh on the Pamunkey Reservation. Was his male lineage, as some believe, from as far south as the Maya whom we know were highly sophisticated pyramid builders as well as avid traders and long distant travelers? The 5,000-year Mound Builders of Ohio with temples on top, is a Mesoamerican creation similar to the spread of corn, which traveled along a similar northern route. Was his father's watercraft carried up from the south by a hurricane in a similar way that early North American dugout and skin canoes ended up on African and European (from Roman times) shores via Atlantic storms? Let us entertain this notion here.


Today, Native American politics has continued to be quite involved and sometimes contentious. This rewriting trend of traditional boundaries, is also seen within contemporary WashingtonDC’s Native politics. Recently, three family related Maryland state-recognized self-identified Iroquoian tribes are making claims on DC and Virginia, sans DNA evidence of descent from a 1680s extinct Algonquian DC tribe, the genetically disappeared Nacotchtank of Anacostia. The current expansionists have ignored the surviving descendants of the two other named historic DC tribes, the Pamunkey/Pomonkey and the Tauxenant or Dogue who still live in the city and its Metropolitan Area. The recently organized, politically aggressive Maryland tribes are located 27 miles away from our city’s borders in Southern Maryland and already have a legal nation to nation relationship with their own governor's capital in Annapolis. Some of their members are also making unsupported political claims on the entire 10 squared mile WashingtonDC. The claimants have since extended their indigenous myth into neighboring Northern Virginia’s Powhatan-Tauxenent ancestral territory. One of their outlandish proclamations also now includes a claim on part of the state of Delaware.

 

The Eastern Woodlands Algonquian leader, Wahunsenachaw, in 1607 claimed at least thirty-odd nations/tribes in his domain. This assertion was backed up by the identified nations when later contacted by the English, especially in John Smith’s account. Added to this easy intertribal access was the geographic layout of the landscape, dotted by many streams and well travelled rivers which were not necessarily tribal borders but highways. US Route 1 was an overland highway which started as an animal trail turned Amerindian travel route, turned wagon trail. Earlier Spanish ships only mentioned the few “caciques” (leaders) whom they fleetingly met. The later English camps only knew about those few close-by nations and other distant ones mentioned by area Amerindians.


The Amerindians of the Powhatan Paramountcy were surrounded by petty chiefdoms. The cohesive group called Powhatans held sway over 
an extensive 18,700 to 19,259 square mile territory from North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, to Washington, DC, which included over 32-34 Algonquian nations. Politically labeled as a kingdom by the English royalists, called a “chiefdom" by detractors, the werowance and weroansqua (male and female leaders) governed by a democratic deliberative styled caucus.

 


Pawahaatuun, A Maya sculpture in Copan, Mexico of the Ancient One, a god within the Maya pantheon who held up the four corners of the world.

 

Wahunsenacawh was the son of the first Powhatan, an arriving “dreamer” who began North America’s first Amerindian group of  nations under the leadership of one person. This governmental entity had the earmarks of an empire or a kingdom, which is a group of nations ruled over by an individual. This description fits Powhatan the First since he had come from the south where there were city states and empires, His title, "Powhatan,” has a Mayan concept in their Pawahaatuun, who was associated with the calendar god who positioned himself at the four corners of the sky, holding up the world.

 

Whatever is believed, the facts of our Amerindian foundation is an indisputable historical reality not widely promoted. This overlooked segment of our nation's history perpetuates the unrealistic myth of a European based entitlement which is daily played out in our National discourse.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

NATIVE PRIDE:Part 2

 By Michael Auld

"Where are you from, Honey?” 

Overlooked Amerindian Artists Indigenous to  Washington, DC

PowhatanMuseum.com  auldpowhatan@yahoo.com





Rose Powhatan's Pamunkey/Tauxenent Native Expressionist work titled "Where are you from , Honey?" A Modernist American Indian acrylic painting on stretched skin, 1980s.

The above painting begs the question of Amerindian invisibility with an often asked question that is posed to an indigenous Pamunkey/Tauxenent Native of Washington, DC. The artist, Rose Powhatan carries her Algonquian ancestral name as a statement of indigenous survival. She is an artist/educator retiree from the District of Columbia Public Schools. This Native American Modernist painting also represents an Indigenous Washingtonian's expression of the pervasive issue of local Amerindian anonyminity.


Columbus made the same mistake!


 ABOUT ROSE'S PAINTING


Non-Western art played a pivotal role in the making of modernist painting and sculpture. Indeed, without non-Western influences the art of this century is unimaginable.

-- "Affinities and Influences: Native American Art and American Modernism” at the Montclair Art Museum. 


The Modernist Art Movement derived their unique, world influencing works with the “incorporation of Native American artistic aesthetics in creating the new form of visual expression, [which created] America’s Modern art movement.”—Influences of Amerindian Art, http://yamaye-mike.blogspot.com/2009/01/influences-of-amerindian-art.html?m=1
 

A Link To Powhatan Paramontcy Visual Aesthetics: 


From early adulthood, Rose was the target of the above titled inquiry throughout her young life. The question usually came from both Black and White elderly female passengers riding Washington's DC Transit (now the MetroBus). As if this imposition was not bad enough, early this year, her Diné (Navajo) daughter-in-law, was mistaken for a Hispanic in a Columbia, Maryland park while with her young children. During this period of heightened American racial divisiveness, she was approached by an African American woman who ironically said, "Why don't you go back home?"


Native Americans come in a variety of ethnic types, facial physiognomies and colors, and their ethnicity is often misidentified by the average person. Some suffer the Columbus inspired misidentification as Indians from the subcontinent. For example, Rose, while on a Fulbright teacher exchange to England in school year 1994-95, was mugged three times in London by one Brit and two Jamaicans. The police called it "Packi-bashing," i.e., attacking an East Asian.

The title of this article is an Indigenous Washingtonian artist’s visual statement refuting the city's pervasive myth of indigenous "ethnic extinction." This article is the second part of a month-long celebration by the Powhatan Museum of the lives of WashingtonDC's indigenous Native American survivors. This week, we focus on the art of Rose Powhatan a Pamunkey/Tauxenent descendant who has spent all her 74 years of life in her native city. She comes from a large indigenous family of over 30 local artists who have made their marks in a variety of creative forums. (See Notes below.)


Rose Powhatan was born into a large DC family of accomplished artists. Each family member had their own style of painting, a hallmark of individualistic familial competition. Rose’s main painting style differed greatly from both her mother, Georgia (who often used Impressionism) and her sister, Marsha (whose medical illustrations are rooted in Realism). Rose’s work is in the genre of Native American Modernism, a style of American art which includes many notable American Indians whose commercial successes developed a few centuries after European contact. 

 

"The term Indigenous Modernism refers to art that emulates Western modernisms, but to art that engages with experiences of modernity from an Indigenous perspective." -- Ian McClean, Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/indigenous-modernisms


Their style of work was based in Indigenous Amerindian art aesthetic. A colorist, her painting,Where are you from, honey?,was created on a sacred circle as a social statement in the Expressionist style of Native American geometric, flat color palate that influenced the Modernist America Art Movement of the early 1940s. The central images are a masked buckskin clothed figure wearing a Powhatan Paramontcy pendant.


Rose’s Native expressionist painting was done as both therapy and as a social statement. Some visual artists often use art to confront life’s physic wounding or as a political way of informing the audience about cultural retentions. In this case, misidentification based on ignorance of Amerindian racial physical appearance was the source of the problem.

 

This painting is also rooted in the issues of a myth of extinction. It addresses public disbelief in survival of Indignity. Therapeutically, it confronts the pervasive issues experienced by many indigenous Amerindians.


The painting’s title stems from a curious perennial question from seemingly sweet Black and White old ladies riding the city bus, whose reaction to her answer, “I’m Native American,” often turned to disappointing shock. Thinking that Rose was a foreigner, these interrogators have usually just looked away in disgust or disbelief. 

 

Rose is often left to muse, “It is one thing to be a stranger in a strange land. It is another to be made a stranger in your own land.”

 

Her Native American styled composition is in the shape of a sacred stretched skin circle, and addresses the painful question asked of her while riding the old DC Transit bus line and its successor, the MertoBus 


WASHINGTON DC’s HIDDEN INDIGENOUS ARTISTS

 

The District of Columbia houses many art collections that are mostly aesthetically European in style and content. Most of the city’s museums are mainly Eurocentric, save for the Smithsonian’s Museum of African Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Museum of the American Indian. Only one of the city’s many major museums has just one artwork, a painting done by the local indigenous artist, Georgia Mills Jessup (Pamunkey). The National Women’s Museum has her “Rainy Night Downtown,” is in its permanent collection. Georgia's painting (see Notes below) is an indigenous statement of an Amerindian descendant's impression of a nighttime scene in her ancestral city.

 

One would think that these hallowed cultural institutions would have more than just one artwork by only one artist whose hometown was built on her ancestral Powhatan Paramountcy. These overlooked indigenous Washingtonian's ancestors have been in the Eastern Woodland area for over 12,000 years.  


So, what does Washingtonian Amerindian art look like? 

 

Indigenous art native to WashingtonDC never disappeared, it just took different forms. The city's indigenous descendants always expressed themselves in the traditional and changing art forms which came to Attan Akamik, their Algonquian "Our Fertile Country." However, it was not until Rose and her mother came along that Native local American Indian aesthetics influences from their own culture were intentionally pursued. Rose's mother's works below exhibit these indigenous aesthetic, as does her mother's composition, "Shaman.” 


"Shaman." A mixed media montage by Georgia Mills Jessup. From the collection of Marsha Jessup.


Thirty-odd artists and counting... 

 

Two main families, originating from the Mills/Miles (Pamunkey) and Boston (Tauxenent) continued to be creative, and successful in their various arts disciplines. At one count in the 1960s, there were at least 29 recorded family members who practiced various art-forms. Today, that number has increased.

 

Rose was born into a prolific artistic DC Area family. She began her art career at her mother's knees, an accomplished world-class painter, Georgia Mills Jessup, by painting murals with her. An art major at DC's first career high school, McKinley Tech, she majored in painting under DC Color School's Sam Gilliam. As an undergraduate painting/art history major/minor and post graduate art educator, she studied at DC's major universities under historic art professionals. (See her educational and career accomplishments in the NOTES below). 

 

Musical disciplines within this large family of local Native descended arts practitioners have included the operatic career of *Madam Lilian Evanti, to Robert Mills WWII troop entertainment band, to Juaquin Jessup’s lead guitar role with the iconic Mandrill funk band. A book would be needed to cover the accomplishments of this talented Indigenous DC Area family. 

 

Just for starters, the family’s arts disciplines include painting, sculpture, medical illustration, music, poetry, writing, art education, arts law, art therapy, and television production.


Rose Powhatan’s Indigenous Washingtonian

Artwork 

 

The "Storyteller" is an autobiographic colorist composition that depicts one of the artist's talents.


"Chickahominy Dancers", Cousins Linora and Troy Adkins at their nation's
annual powwow, Charles City, VA.

"Turtle Island" is the Native American name for the North American continent.Rose incorporated images from Powhatan's Mantle, believed to be a map of the symbol for Attan Akamik ("Our Fertile Country") 


"So We Too" is a Native American colored serigraph print that made a statement about the universility of the displacement of indigenous people in their own homelands. It was Rose's Native American contribution to an Africobra travelling exhibition durinfg the South African Apartied era.


Pocahontas Unmasked”, Rose Powhatan A hand colored computer generated graphic. Click on the YouTube link to see Rose's Museum of the Shenandoah Valley 2018 gallery talk on Pocahontas in the traveling exhibition titled "Hear my voice: Native American Art of the Past and Present.” (YouTube https://youtu.be/dt52hld-94k) 




"Michabo and the Great Deer'" story shield montage composed of a deer skull mounted on fire engraved buckskin. This illustrated Algonquian story tells how Men and Women were spread around the world by Michabo the Great Hare,
the Bringer of the Light.


"A Warrior's Memories of Days Past"; A funerary installation at the Maryland University of Baltimore's Art Gallery which included: (Top: L-R) A Powhatan totem, wall hung enlarged computer generated Secotan Village (DeBrey etching), and Powhatan longhouse made from bamboo and reeds inside of which was a burial liter. Named for the deadly misuse of sacred tobacco, promoted by the Philip Morris Cigarette Company.
  

ROSE'S TOTEM TRADITION

From the traditional to the contemporary

Algonquian totem poles were captured in John White's 1585 watercolors of the Secotan people of North Carolina. Rose is the first Native American artist to have revived her Algonquian totem pole tradition in order to make contemporary statements.


"Firewoman Warrior" is a totem to Rose's Tauxenent ancestor, werowanska (leader) Keziah Powhatan who, along with her warriors, twice burned down the Fairfax County Courthouse in 1752, twenty-four years before the American Independence. Her beef was with the English Colonial Government whose King Charles II (an English slavery benefactor) had "given" her people's ancestral land to his wild cousin, Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron. Never married, Lord Fairfax is also distantly related to Rose. The DAR placed a plaque at Tyson's Corner, VA to mark the moving of the courthouse, because of "Indian hostilities."


Rose Powhatan's Keziah Powhatan totem "Firewoman Warrior," and her
"Dreamcatcher" installation, Fondo del Sol Museum's "Still Here: Celebrating 49,500 years before Columbus" Native American exhibition.




 
(L) John White's 1585 Dance Circle watercolor of Secotan, North Carolina. (R) One of six of Rose & Michael's traditional styled totem, researched and executed for the Powhatan Village at the Jamestown Festival Park, Virginia.


STORYTELLING

Telling traditional stories is a major hallmark of keeping Amerindian culture. How the world works and the origin of all things are major Native American storytelling themes. As a "Wisdom Keeper," Rose has retained these aspects of her Algonquian culture in illustration, painting, totemic sculpture
and the spoken word. Rose has kept ancient Algonquian tradition alive at various venues in Attan Akamik.

(A) Among her other talents Rose, an avid storyteller, has kept the Algonquian culture of the  Eastern Woodlands alive.




Using her story totems to inform the public at Riverbend Park's anual Native American 
Festival.
The smaller fire engraved totem relates a pictographic tale of the Algonquian
culture hero,
Michabo the Great Hare and the Great Flood story
.




(L-R) "Michabo and the Great Flood" story: Michabo the Great Hare finds that the
world is flooded. When the water recedes, Michabo sends out Raven to try to find
dryland. Raven is unsuccessful. So, he sends out Muskrat. She is successful.
So he marries Muskrat... And this is where men and women came from.

Above: Pamunkey inspired pictographic story from above totem pole's frontal shaft.


NOTES:

Some accomplished members of this DC artistic family

 

(1) * Lillian Evanti (August 12, 1890 – December 6, 1967), 

was an American opera singer. Her stage name was a combination of both

her DC family and married names, Evans-Tibbs. 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Lillian_Evanti_1926.jpg 


(2) Georgia Mills Jessup (Pamunkey), a prolific artist, DCPS

educator/administrator, was the 13th child of 21 children from a DC family of

over 30-odd practitioners in the arts. Below, she stands next to

"Rainy Night Downtown." a painting in the permanent

collection of DC's National Museum of Women in the Arts. 



 

(3) Alexei Boston Auld (Pamunkey/Tauxenent) is a lawyer for the arts

and an author http://alexeiauld.com/index.html has published many books.



(Above) Alexei Boston Auld and four of his many books, two of which are insider's
Native themes.


(4) Go to Powhatan Museum's Honor Roll to see more on
David Mills (Pamunkey) and Bernie Boston (Tauxenent)
http://powhatanmuseum.com/Powhatan_Honor_Roll.html


 

David Mills (Pamunkey), DC Journalist, Screen Writer/Producer of HBO Miniseries “Kingpin,”
The Corner.” and “NYPD Blue.”.                                                           

 



Bernie Boston (Tauxenent), News photographer, with his Pulitzer nominated 
Vietnam era photo, "Flower Power."

 

(5) Record album, Back row: Second from right, Juaquin Jessup (Pamunkey), lead guitar for iconic funk band, Mandrill, an American funk band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 1968 by brothers Carlos, Lou, and Ric Wilson. 




(6) Rose Powhatan's Education and Art Career:
McKinley High School, Washington, D. C., Art Major Program;
Howard University, Washington, D.C., BFA (Painting/Art History) Cum Laude, MA (Art Education/Art History); Georgetown University, Washington, D.C, Graduate Studies in Humanities; Catholic University, Washington, D.C., Graduate Studies in History; University of the District of Columbia, Graduate Studies in History/Education/Administration; Trinity College, Washington, D.C., Graduate Studies in Education and Advanced Literature; University of London, Graduate Studies in Education

WORK EXPERIENCE
Exhibiting Artist, Lecturer and Workshop Facilitator/Coordinator of multicultural programs for the following: (this is a select listing)

  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Wolf Trap Foundation International Children's Festival
  • Virginia Museum of Natural History
  • Chickahominy Tribe, VA
  • Upper Mattaponi Tribe, VA
  • Piscataway Tribe, MD
  • Nottoway Tribe, VA
  • George Marshall School of Law (College of William and Mary)
  • Jamaica Nationals Association, Washington, D.C.
  • Caribbean American Intercultural Organization, Washington, D.C.
  • American Indian Society of Washington, D.C.
  • Monacan Tribe, VA
  • 14th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, at the College of William and Mary
  • Accohannock Tribe, MD