Monday, June 28, 2021

 from Michael Auld at the powhatanmuseum.com



Who are the Indigenous Washingtonians?

The 1970 painting below was done by a Washington, DC Pamunkey artist who was descended from a family of 21 siblings. She was one of many family members with deep roots in the WashingtonDC Metropolitan area. In keeping with Native American tradition, one must be familiar with their identifying tribal surnames. In the “DMV” area, Indigenous names are mainly those associated with Powhatan Paramountcy affiliation. Indigenous Washingtonians live among the city's populations but have not yet been "discovered" by the mainstream. They are literally “hidden in plain sight." 

One of the most overlooked stories of our Nation's Capital is about its Indigenous Washingtonians. The assumption is that the city is a barren plum sought after by members of outside tribes or other newcomers. DC is often thought of as having no real history of its own before the arrival of Europeans. On the contrary, there is a vast underground of local Native Americans who never left the DMV area. Their roots go back over 10,000 years.

Most documentarians of DC’s Indigenous people overlook links to the Powhatan Paramountcy, however, there are five writers who are Pamunkey and/or Tauxenent. They include Georgia Mills Jessup, We're Still Here"; her daughter Rose Powhatan, “Surviving Document Genocide"; and Rose’s sons, Alexei Auld, "Tonto Canto Pocahontas: A Review"; Kiros Auld, "Pocahontas:Patron Saint of Colonial Miscegenation?"; and their cousin's, "Pocahontas' First Marriage: The Powhatan Side of the Story" by Dr. Phoebe Mills Farris. They all have roots in DC and have written about their city's tribal nations while the Indigenous DC history is mostly written by non-Natives.

 


Unfortunately, DC's Indigenous story is often interpreted by newly arrived Euro-American historians. They mostly don't have a clue about who our living Indigenous Amerindians are as well as the international impact of the city's Indigenous Washingtonians. Some seem unable to connect the dots. One case in point is the portrayal of Pocahontas as a 17th century Virginia Indian first married to widower John Rolfe. His newly introduced Christian religion forced her into a bigamous marriage. To the contrary, Pocahontas was already married to Kocoum, a young war captain with whom she is believed to have had a son. Indigenous men usually moved to their wife's village, but Pocahontas temporarily moved to her husband's village for safety. Unfotunately, she was lured into abduction with the help of a Patawomeck sub-chief and his wife in Stafford CountyVA.  


"Urban Renewal" (1970) by Washingtonian artist, Georgia Mills Jessup (Pamunkey). She is shown in the darkened center of the painting as an Indigenous Washingtonian surrounded by disenfranchised African Americans.

 

Some contemporary Eurocentric skeptics underestimated Amerindian genius, and had little faith in the cultural impact of Powhatan’s immense Indigenous territory with its unique form of freedoms within a political group. Although political unions like his had been present in the Americas for thousands of years, some writers believed that Native Americans never ventured out of their immediate tribal areas. On the contrary, Amerindians traveled extensively and left their homes on long distance trading expeditions. 

Powhatan’s territory was the largest Indigenous political organization met by the English in North America. The main similarity to the pyramid builders of Central America was that Powhatan was buried in a pyramid inspired mound on the Pamunkey Reservation. Their original men were stated as "coming from the south." Some believe they came from the direction of the Yucatec "Pauhatun." An old set of Bacabs, or four part deity or deities of the four directions and four colors who are also four pillars which hold up the world. This possible Powhatan origin story could also be supported by similar political acumen in Meso-American politics and Powhatan's burial site. Powhatan's burial site may have been a part of Central American pyramid-inspired mound building tradition. Indigenous mound burials spread north to Ohio's 70 mounds.

Powhatan's power left an indelible impact on the expanding British Empire. The DMV has an unmatched record with published information on one of its Indigenous historic Amerindian groups, the Powhatan Paramountcy (See below), since the city of Washington, DC was built on ancient Indigenous Amerindian ground. Unfortunately, newcomers to DC with no general knowledge of its ancient Indigenous past, assume that DC is a transient area. Contrary to their misconception, some of its Indigenous citizens have deep unbroken Native American roots in the Metropolitan area. They are proudly "Still here."

Over 100,000 people claim descent from one woman, Pocahontas. Her father, Powhatan had 100 wives, mostly from villages within his domain. Two examples of his lineage are Taux Powhatan whose mother was Tauxenent or Dogue. He was a half brother to Pocahontas. Keziah Powhatan, an 18th century Tauxenent leader in Fairfax County has many descendants in the DMV area. Additionally, many contemporary Indigenous nations from the Carolinas to Washington, DC, once within the Powhatan Paramountcy, have descendants from the unions between Powhatan and his wives from those nations. This common international practice found among leaders was to create loyalty to the Paramountcy and protection for villages with famelial ties to their undisputed leader.

DC's Federal City was carved out of at least three Indigenous Algonquian territories of the Nocotchtank (DC proper), the Pamunkey (MD, DC & VA) and the Tauxenent or Dogue (VA & DC) and inaugurated on July 16, 1790. At the time of Captain John Smith's arrival in 1608, the Nocotchtank had been recorded to have at one time been a part of the Powhatan Paramountcy. The Pamunkey was the leading nation in the Paramountcy to whose governing family Powhatan (or Wahunsenacawh) and Pocahontas belonged. According to historians, these three DC Algonquian tribes were part of the Indigenous group whose residency went back 3,000 to 10,000 years prior to the Little Ice Age which suddenly began in 1275 AD and petered out by 1700 AD.

One example of tribal movement during that cooling of the Earth was Maryland’s Piscataway who in 1300 AD came from the freezing north into the Chesapeake shoreline to live among the original Algonquians who were already there thousands of years before. They were considered enemies of the Powhatan Paramountcy. This move ended in 1711 when they were forced out by the unbridled emigration of their English Catholic “friends,” with whom they originally had no wars. They dispersed and some moved back north to the Iroquois while others went west into the powerful warrior territory of the Powhatan Paramountcy.

As for Anacostia’s Nocotchtank, after their town was bombarded and destroyed by both White and Black Jamestown residents intent on grabbing the beaver pelt trade, with the help of their Patawomeck allies (who were responsible in the luring and kidnapping of Pocahontas), some surviving Nocotchtank remnants moved to the Tauxenent's Roosevelt Island and further inland into Virginia, then left the area in 1685 to go north to Ohio.


The DMV
(DC, MD, and VA's tri-state area)


1585 watercolor of a Secotan woman and child from the Chesapeake Bay. --    watercolor by John White

 

During the 17th century over 32 local tribes, mainly from Maryland’s Indigenous people, were forced out of their area by the aggressive land hungry English. (In coimparison, the Powhatan Paramountcy alone had over 30-odd nations within its territory.) In addition to "land grant upper class English", they sought first time land ownership and riches away from their densely populated European homelands. They conveniently believed that their God had given their race domain over the land, animals and the Americas’ Indigenous human beings. The term was “Manifest Destiny.”


The newly formed Virginia Territory's dominant Powhatan Paramountcy members who fought in three major homeland security Anglo-Powhatan Wars, remained in their area which had been settled by their ancestors 3,000 to 10,000 years before. They were known as formidable warriors of a growing empire of “Tsenacommacah,” or "densely inhabited land." From this location, the Powhatan "Indians" who had developed a complex culture, had a centralized political system of 32-34 Algonquian nations governed by a second Powhatan or “Dreamer” named Wahunsenachaw, who had succeeded his father's eight nations Confederacy.


Many Indigenous people in the 17th century intermarried with arriving foreigners. Members of the Powhatan Paramountcy, never abandoned their ancestral territories. Their retention of Indigenous culture was attributed to their honoring the tradition of descent from matrilineal groups. This was especially true of those whose mothers who were Native.
“One of the largest tribes in the Powhatan Paramountcy, the Pamunkey tribe was centered in [Tidewater] Virginia, with villages in next door Prince Georges, Charles and St. Mary's counties of Maryland.” The presence of the unincorporated community of Pomonkey of Charles County, MD and the assignment by the National Park Service as one of Washington, DC's Indigenous tribes, attest to the extent of Powhatan's northern location of his Paramountcy. Virginia’s Tauxenent families also remained in Washington, DC proper. Many of these survivors lived in DC or daily crossed the Potomac River for educational opportunities as well as for Federal and local governmental jobs.


By 1711, most Maryland tribes south and north of Washington, DC's border either became extinct as identifiable tribal entities within that state’s boundaries, or migrated north or west of Washington, DC. This pattern was not true of those who were a part of the 19,250 square mile Powhatan Paramountcy’s territory whose Accohannock firmly remained in Southern Maryland. Some Powhatan families such as the Tauxenent/Dogue and Pamunkey either remained in Virginia within the Federal City’s original boundary, lived in the city, or moved back and forth across the Potomac River for schooling and job opportunities into the redefined 1847 District of Columbia border. The Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock on the northern border of the city retreated north to Pennsylvania and New York.
In Virginia two of its Indigenous nations, the Pamunkey and Mattaponi, maintained their reservations on ancestral land. Seven of the eleven state recognized tribes became federally recognized, the Pamunkey being the first. Maryland’s state tribal recognition only began in 2012 with three tribes, one of which (the Accohannock) was a part of the original Powhatan Paramountcy.


Descendants of the Powhatan Paramountcy have continued life in the tri-state Metropolitan Area and some of them worked as 19th century stone quarry miners and masons who were responsible for the construction of iconic DC structures such as the Washington Monument, portions of the Capitol Rotunda, the Smithsonian Castle, the "Exorcist Stairs" in Georgetown, canals, bridges and other outstanding DC structures. Their accomplishments also include a variety of professions. Many excelled in the arts.


Powhatan Paramountcy descendants fought in or contributed to war efforts from the American Revolution to today’s conflicts. Stories, many books, statues, paintings and movies have chronicled their history, nationally and internationally. The Powhatan Paramountcy is the only Indigenous entity which has continued to have one of the greatest impacts on North American nations. The following photographs tell it all.


Powhatan and Pocahontas’ Descendants

 

Powhatan with some of his wives, by Captain John Smith (1607).


Images of Pocahontas and Her People


Artist, Georgia Mills Jessup (Pamunkey) with her grandson, Kiros Auld (Pamunkey/Tauxenent) standing next to their family's Powhatan totem depicting the Mantle of Powhatan, at a festival/powwow.—Photo by the Author


Rose Powhatan (Pamunkey/Tauxenent) and her cousin, Chief William Harry Miles of the Pamunkey nation at the dedication of six totems by Michael Auld and Rose Powhatan at the inaugural METRO opening event.-- Photo by Dr. Phoebe Mills Farris




One of two statues of Pocahontas with DC Native, Rose Powhatan (Pamunkey/Tauxenent), in Gravesend, Kent, England (1995). A replica of the statue is at Jamestown, Virginia. The town of Gravesend's main claim to fame is that Pocahontas is buried there. -- Photo by the author


   

The "Baptism of Pocahontas" is a large painting (12' x 18') of her located in the Capitol's Rotunda, Washington. DC. Its size and placement in the Nation's Capital reflected the historic role which the indigenous Paramountcy played in the country's psyche. The actual event took place in a more rustic Jamestown. The original baptismal font is in Braton Parish Church in Williamsburg, VA.-- Photo by the author.





"Pocahontas Unmasked" is a print by Rose Powhatan showing her interpretation of the unmasked Indigenous woman. She used the image of an Indigenous American woman, based on a John White watercolor of the Indigenous people of the Chesapeake. -- Photo by the author


Powhatan's Mantle on display from Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, with a school group in London, England.


Still Here!



Two young Washingtonian descendants of the Powhatan Paramountcy and Diné Nation, who are wearing the sacred colors of the Four Directions (red, black, yellow and white). On their backs are signs which their Diné (Navajo) mother and Pamunkey/Tauxenent father made, stating "Still Indigenous. Still strong. Still here." They are standing on one of their ancestral territories at the Reflecting Pool with the Washington Monument in the background, giving a salute of defiance. Their 19th century Pamunkey and Tauxenent ancestors mined the stones from ancient Indigenous quarries, used for the interior structure of the Washington Monument in the distance. -- Photo by Ani Begay Auld

 




 





Thursday, June 24, 2021

DC, VA, MD & NC's Treaty under Cockacoeske (1677)

Who are the Powhatans?

   

We only mostly know about the group of 32-34 Algonquian nations recorded by the 17th Century English who assumed that the name, “Powhatans,” meaning “Dreamers,” was the name for an entire paramountcy. The term was recorded at the time of the1607 Powhatan-Anglo encounter. More importantly, they belonged to a variety of specifically self-identifying nations with a central governing center with a "king's house" with surrounding villages. Each nation had some autonomy, but was allied under the werowance (leader) Wahunsenachaw, or the second Powhatan.

The name used by the English was his title as the leader who had created a formidable Paramountcy which began as a confederacy of eight Algonquian nations in Tidewater, Virginia. The Powhatan’s ancient political and social history is not fully known except through archeological interpretations of over 10,000 years of settlement within their ancestral East Coast territory. Our present knowledge of them comes from slanted 17th century English sources. The term “Powhatan” for all nations under Wahunsenachaw seemed to have been coined by Captain John Smith while in the employ of the Virginia Company of London, a group of simplistic venture capitalists. They were money-seekers without the benefit of the historic knowledge of Indigenous Amerindians who encountered them off the their shores of Attan Akamik (Our Fertile Country).

 

In 1585, the English impression of the Chesapeake Bay area had come from Spanish explorers who named that coastline, “Ajacan.” By 1585, the arriving gold seeking Spanish had been in our ancient Amerindian Hemisphere for just 93 years. To the Spanish and their European neighbors, they had thought that the Spanish had “found” a “New World,” a title still doggedly adhered to for over 500 years in a hemisphere with around 50,000 years of Asiatic human presence and with some of the planet’s oldest exposed mountain range. Rather than a “New World,” “Asia Extended” is the concept believed by some who instead see a Western Hemisphere originally inhabited by Asiatic people.


Enter Cockacoeske, the Queen of Pamunkey

Cockacoeske Queen of Pamunkey, whose domain exemplified by 32 tribal circles and Powhatan's emblem behind her, included most of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC


Queen of Pamunkey crown frontlet (Silver, 1677). Given to her by Charles II upon the signing of the 1677 Treaty of Middle Plantation (Williamsburg, Virginia).


What Cockacoeske had in common with Amerindians within this Western Hemisphere today is that she was a survivor. She was from the Opechancanough family line with a traditional Pamunkey ruling hierarchy of inheritance. Her late grandfather, Opechancanough, who distrusted the English, was assassinated by them. During the 30 year period following the third Anglo-Powhatan War, a fragile peace ensued under Opechancanough’s successors. The theory was that he was succeeded by his son Necotowance who was possibly the father of Totopotomoi.  Cockacoeske, then married Totopotomoi who was her cousin and the werowance (leader) of the Powhatan Paramountcy. Now pressed into an alliance with the English Crown after Opechancanough’s murder, Totopotomoi was obligated to join their former English enemy for mutual protection as required in the 1645 Anglo-Powhatan treaty. 


The Anglo-Powhatan attempt was to expel the encroaching Mahocks and Nahyssans (also known as Siouan-speaking “Richahhecrians”) who had been forced out of their own Lake Erie territory by an expanding economic based Iroquois Nation’s Beaver Wars. Beaver pelts were a highly prized winter commodity for Amerindians and Europeans. Especially craved by the English who were at the time importing winter pelts (beaver, martens, wolves, foxes, etc), as clothing items from Russia.


One can evaluate the structure of the Powhatan Paramountcy and its far-reaching influence as well as the opposing English political designs, seventy years after the Indigenous Tsenacommacah or Attan Akamik encounter of 1607. Both Algonquian words describe the territory as a “Densely Inhabited Land” and the second as, "Our Fertile Country." The 1677 Treaty of Middle Plantation below encapsulates a window into that violent timeframe. The signatories and their titles provide a view into the local Indigenous power structure. It also reveals the English empire's designs in the expanding Virginia Territory (See the map in NOTES).


What do we know about both players?


The first Anglo-Powhatan War between the Powhatan Paramountcy and the English began in 1610, three years after the arrival of Captain John Smith in 1607. It ended with an agreement in 1614. The next peace treaty after the second Anglo-Powhatan War was in 1646. The third Anglo-Powhatan War ended in 1677 with the Treaty of Middle Plantation. It is obvious that the Paramountcy did not want the English in their country.

 

What we know is that "Cockacoeske was a child of war [and a war weary widow, who was also descended from a martyred ancestor, Opechancanough]. Her circumstances were precarious. She was an astute leader and skillful politician." Her signing of the 1677 treaty below meant that she was a survivor of wars against the English, an attempted assassination on her by Nathaniel Bacon, and the ending of the third Anglo-Powhatan war led by, Opechancanough, the younger brother to Wahunsenachaw, the leader of the expanding Powhatan Paramountcy.

Cockacoeske had a royal personality and did not kowtow to the English. At her meeting with the General Assembly, Cockacoeske was dressed regally, and with “grave Courtlike Gestures and a Majestick Air,” she took a seat at the Council table and refused to speak except through her interpreter son John West, even though the committee members believed that she understood English.

She was the last effective Powhatan Paramountcy leader up until her death in 1686 at the age of 46.



Most importantly, as seen above, the 1677 treaty below was the second of its kind after the one signed in 1646 with the English. This Middle Plantation Treaty was made after the breaking of that treaty in 1676 by Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion, where many Pamunkey were killed, imprisoned or enslaved. Having grown up during the most unstable of times, Cockacoeske’s back was up against the wall. Now accustomed to enemy tribes taking advantage of the English destabilizing invasion and its uncontrollable populace, she had experienced the instability caused by both the English subjects and opportunistic Indigenous enemy nations.  


At the Assembly, Cockacoeske negotiated for the release of the survivors of Bacon's Rebellion and compensation for Pamunkey losses. Bacon died at 29 years old from the "bloody flux" or dysentery soon after his short-lived rebellion. Some English at that time believed his painful death was caused by a Pamunkey priest induced “Powhatan's revenge."

What is more revealing in the treaty exhibited English paranoia based on their fears of the Indigenous warrior nations within their vicinity. And the extent of Cockacoeske's vast Powhatan Paramountcy's power which included today's states of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and the District of Columbia. (See the Virginia Territorial map below in NOTES).

The following treaty article's item XXII and the signatories under it, tell you exactly who came under Cockacoeske’s inherited domain.


The Middle Plantation Treaty of 1677

Between Virginia's Indian Head Chiefs and Charles II (The King of Great Britain)

Treaties are supposed to be binding contracts which, in America's case, are not always honored between the United States and its Indigenous people. Typically, English subjects soon broke the 1677 treaty by Bacon’s murderous and destructive acts. Still composed of mostly violent Englishmen, the territory’s invaders continued to steal Powhatan land, denude forests and drive out its Indigenous landowner protectors. The clash between both cultures was based on different concepts of land ownership. The Indigenous belief was that humans were caretakers of Mother Earth, not her masters. The English believed that they had the Christian god-given domain over all of the Earth’s "lesser beings" and even the land itself. Unfortunately, they and their successor’s mishandling of land husbandry has eventually brought the planet to the brink of environmental destruction via global warming.


Yet this 1677 Treaty of Middle Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia, reveals the recognition by the English of the largest Indigenous political government which they had met in North America, the Powhatan Paramountcy. One just has to dissect the agreements below to see who the arriving English recognized as the most important political entities in the vast territory which they viewed in 1609 as "The Virginia Territory." (See map in NOTES.) Other nations within the original Virginia Territory were considered "Petty Kingdoms" by the English who were experienced in European governmental structures.


Charles II of Great Britain, France, Ireland and Virginia after turmoil in England who was brought back to the throne after the beheading of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell’s ensuing civil war (actually, a series of civil wars between 1642-1651).


THE TREATY

"With the several Indian Kings and Queens and Assignors and Subscribers hereunto made and Concluded at the Camp of Middle plantation, the 29th day May, 1677; being the day of the most happy birth and Restoration of our said Sovereign Lord, and  in the  XXIX year of his said Majesties Reign.


By the Right Honorable Herbert Jeffreys Esquire Governor and Capt. General of his Majesties Colony of Virginia; Present the Honorable Sir John Berry, Knight and Morrrison, Esquire his most Sacred Majesties Commissioners appointed under the great Seale of England for the Virginia affairs, And the Honorable Council of State of the said Colony.

 

Whereas his most Sacred Mantle hath of his own Royal grace and mere motion entrusted to my care and endeavors the Renewing management and concluding a good peace with the Neighbor Indians in order whereunto with the advice and Assistance of the honorable Sir John Berry, Knight and Francis Morrison, Esquire I have here caused to be drawn up these ensuing Articles and Overtures for the firm grounding and sure establishment of a good and just Peace with the said Indians, and that it my be a Secure and homing one founded upon the strong Pillars of Reciprocal Justice by confirming to them their just Rights and by Redress of their wrongs and injuries that so the great God who is god of peace and Lover of Justice may uphold and prosper this out mutual League and Amity.  It is hereby Concluded, consented to and mutually agreed as follows:"

 

[The following is an abbreviation of the 22 agreements between the "Indians" and the English]

 

I. That the respective Indian kings and queens acknowledge their immediate dependency on and their subjugation to the great King of England, his heirs and successors when they pay tribute to the governor for the time being.

II. That the said kings and queens and their subjects shall hold their land and property by patent under the seal of his majesties colony, without any fee gratuity or reward for the same in the manner of his majesty’s subjects, and paying yearly, three arrows for the same. 

III. That all in agreement with us (the English) the Indians shall have sufficient land on which to plant and shall never have this land taken from them or disturbed therein so long as they maintain obedience and subjugation to his majesty, his governor and government and remain in friendship to the English.

 IV. The mutual discontentment, complaints, jealousies between the English and Indians caused by violent intrusions of various English into their lands, forcing the Indians to seek revenge by killing English cattle and hogs, whereby both sides offended and injured each other and caused the peace to be broken. The late unhappy rebellion caused so much ruin and misery, that there must be as much as possible the prevention of injuries and evil consequences. So we conclude and enact that no English shall seat or plant within three miles of any Indian town. Anyone who encroaches on Indian lands shall be removed, and proceedings shall be brought against them by the Governor and the laws enacted by the Assembly.

 V. That the said Indians shall be protected, their persons and goods defended from injuries by the English. The aggrieved Indians should first address themselves to the governor without rashly taking hostile action themselves.

 VI. That no Indian king or queen shall be imprisoned without a special warrant from his majesty’s governor and two of the Council.  That no other Indian shall be imprisoned without a warrant from a Justice of the Peace and without sufficient cause of commitment.

 VII. That the said Indians have and enjoy the convenience of oystering, fishing and gathering Tuckahoe, wild oats, rushes, pecans, or anything else for their natural support that is not useful to the English or from which the English obtain revenues. For any lawful occasion, to always obtain a certificate from a magistrate, to return the certificate when they are through with their business, to then go directly home, not to wear or carry any weapon during the conducting of business, or not to lodge in any Englishman’s house at night.

 VIII. That no foreign Indian comes to an Englishman’s plantation without a friendly neighborhood Indian in his company and without the previously mentioned certificate. And that no Indian king refuses to send a safe conduct with the foreigner upon the lawful occasion.  And that no Indian paint or disguise themselves when they come in.

 IX. That all Indian Kings and Queens tributary to the English having notice of any march of strange Indians near the English quarters or plantations do forthwith repair to some of the next officers of the militia and acquaint him of their nation, number and design and which way they bend their Course.

 X. That if necessary a convenient party be presently sent out by the next Militia to aide and strengthen and join with Friendly Indians against any foreign attempt, incursion, or depredation upon the Indian town.

 XI. That every Indian fit to bare arms of the neighboring Nations in peace with us, have such quantity of powder and shot allotted him as Right Honorable the Governor shall think fit on any occasion, and that such members of them be ready to go out with our forces upon any march against the enemy and to Receive such pay for their good services, as shall be thought fit.

 XII. That each Indian King and Queen have equal power to govern their own people, except the Queen of Pamunkey to whom several scattered Indians do now again own their ancient Subjection and are agreed to come in and plant themselves under power and government who with her are also hereby included in this present League and treaty of peace and are to keep and observe the same towards the said Queen in all things as her subjects as well as towards the English.

 XIII. That no person whatever shall entertain or keep any Neighbor Indian as Servant or otherwise, but by license of ye Governor and to be upon the obligation answerable for all injuries and damages by him of them happen to be done on any English.

 XIV. That no English harbor or entertain any vagrant or Runaway Indian, but convey him home by way of pass from Justice to Justice to his own town under penalty of paying so much per day for harboring him as by the Law for entertaining Runaways is Recoverable.

 XV. That no Indian of those in Amity with us shall serve for any longer time than English of the like Ages should serve by act of Assembly, and shall not be sold as Slaves.

 XVI. That every King and Queen in the month of March every year with some of their great men tender their obedience to the Right Honorable his Majesties Governor at the place of his residence, whenever it shall be, and then and there pay the accustomed rent of twenty beaver skins, to the Governor and also their quit rent aforesaid, in acknowledgement that they hold the Crowns, and Lands of the great King of England.

 XVII. That due care be had and taken that those Indian Kings and Queens their great men and attendants that come on any public business to the Right Honorable Governor Council of Assembly may be accommodated with provisions and houseroom at the public charge. And that no English Subject shall abuse, revile, hurt or wrong them at any time in word or deed.

 XVIII. That upon discord or breach of Peace happening to arise between any of the Indians in amity with the English upon the first appearance and beginning thereof, and before they open Acts of hostility or war one against another they shall repair to his Majesties Governor by whose justice and wisdom it is concluded such difference shall be made upon and decided, and to whose final determination the said Indian shall Submit and conform themselves.

 XIX. That for preventing the frequent mischiefs and mistakes occasioned by unfaithful and corrupt interpreters , and for more Safety satisfaction, and advantage both of the Indians and the English, that there be one of each nation of our neighboring Indians, that already can or become capable of speaking English, admitted together with those of ye English to their own interpreters.

 XX. That the several Indians concluded in this peace forthwith restore to the Respective English parents and owners, all such children servants, and horses, which at any time taken from them, and now remaining with them ye said Indians, or which they can make discovery of.

 XXI. That the trade with the said Indians be continued, limited, restrained, or laid open, as shall make best for ye peace and quiet in the Country, upon which affair the Governor will consult with the Council and Assembly, and conclude thereon at their next meeting.

 XXII. That it is further agreed that all Indians and English in the Province of Maryland are included in these Articles of peace, And that neither party shall offend the other without breach of his Majesties peace.


Annual Treaty Ceremony with Governor DouglasWilder at the Governor's Mansion, Richmond, Virginia.



(Above:) Leaders of the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Monacan, and Nansemond tribes, Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life, and Senators Kaine and Warner in the 2018 Federal Recognition event. (Not shown here is the Fererally rtecognized Pamunkey Nation.)


The treaty itself was not honored by arriving fortune-seeking English who were spreading like locusts, illegally grabbing Indigenous lands and disregarding the tenants of the 1677 treaty. Originally guided by their priests, the many Powhatan Paramountcy nations/”tribes”, began to follow their war captains instead. This sparked fear among the English populace and their colonial government. Nevertheless, the overwhealmed Indigenous populace under the Powhatan Paramountcy declined in numbers. Its surviving descendants mostly remained within their ancient territory, forced to make a living by adapting to the English economy, but keeping some of their traditions alive on reservations, “Indian Towns,” and similar tribal land holdings. Farming, hunting and gathering wild foods continued until today’s era. Their pauwau or powwow became a pan-Indian festival which today is a time to celebrate their survival in territories surrounded by a mostly uninformed and neglectful mainstream society.

 

Cockacoeske's niece, Queen Ann (1630-1725) who succeeded her, continued Cockacoeske's tradition of keeping the peace in the colony. However, the fallout from Cockacoeske’s signing of the 1677 treaty is that after the succession by her niece, Ann, for over 303 years, no one of their gender has since been elected chief of her nation. During continued colonization, Indigenous numbers had been reduced by European and African introduced pathogens, exploitation, enslavement and medical neglect. This thread of benign neglect towards Indigenous people and their communities has continued today.

 

NOTES: 

(1)

Virginia Territorial Map, included in the red line going north and west of the Atlantic Ocean.

(2) Capt. John West, Cockacoeske’s illegitimate son, was around 20 years old when he signed the above 1677 treaty. His father was not Cockacoeske’s deceased husband, werowance Totopotomoi, who had been killed in 1656 in a war against six to seven hundred Indigenous Richahhecrians or Shackoconian warriors. Cockacoeske had John West by an English officer. 

(3) As of January 29, 2018 Virginia has seven federally recognized tribes. Of the 30-odd nations recorded by Capt. John Smith within Virginia proper, many still survive in their traditional territories. The Tauxenent in Northern Virginia’s Washington, DC suburbs and the city proper, have reorganized under a chief, her assistant chief and council. At this writing, the Mattaponi is not yet federally recognized. They have the second of the two first reservations in North America. Other tribes like the Patawomeck and the Cheroenaka (Nottoway) are only state recognized.  Other Virginia tribes, recorded in 1608, survived, however the volatile state of Indigenous politics has slowed the movement to recognition. Although Virginia was the first American territory to have reservations, it took the US government 411 years to recognize the country's first encountered Native Americans of the Powhatan Paramountcy. 


Friday, May 28, 2021

MEMORIAL DAY'S FIRST WAR HERO

 

The Overlooked Opechancanough: An Indigenous Hero


Interestingly, his inherited domain included Arlington Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a number of military establishments in the DMV. Yet, because American history only begins with the arrival of the English in 1607, he, as a formidable Indigenous leader is the true "Unknown Warrior" who was the primary leader to die for his country in the first battles of homeland security


(Above): This is an image of a Pamunkey descendant of Opechancanough and how he may have appeared wearing the traditional turkey feather headdress, freshwater pearls and symbolic body paint. He was the Algonquian leader (who succeeded his late brother Powhatan II or 
Wahunsennachaw) of a vast "empire" (The only one of its kind encountered by the English). The Powhatan Paramountcy, whose territory included large areas in the states of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia-- http://powhatanmuseum.com/Powhatan_Map.html--. Like his older brother, he would have also visited Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to caucus with surrounding nations.



  "He began in 1610 what the American Revolutionaries achieved in 1776"

Iwould seem that this man should be the first Native American to be called a hero and given those deserved rights and privileges, like the Civil Rights heroine, Rosa Parks.
Opechancanough was the architect of the First Anglo-Powhatan War that took place from 1610-13 in Virginia.
Never one to claim defeat as long as he lived, he rebounded with the Second Anglo-Powhatan War that took place from 1622-32. "In 1622 the English knew they were at war. On March 22 there was a massive [coordinated] assault on the English plantations on the James River. English trading vessels in the York River basin, and perhaps the Rappahannock area, were also attacked. About one-fourth of the English living in Virginia on that day; at least another fourth died within the year from Indian sniping, from the famine caused by English inability to plant crops under Indian fire."-- Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500 - 1722, Edited by Helen C. Rountree, Pg. 190.

During the Third Anglo-Powhatan War (1644-46), Opechancanough, bercause of his advanced age (of 92 years old), was taken to the battlefront on a litter. He was later captured and martyred when shot in the back by an English colonist while imprisoned.

His descendants are Still Here!


Opechancanough's Descendants


(Top): Photograph of one of the youngest descendants of Opechancanough who bears his name, Naat'aani Opechan. He is with his Dine (Navajo) mother. Next to her is a non-Native Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro. Naat'aani's Pamunkey/Tauxenent father is on the right. In Dine, Naat'aani means "Leader". 

(Bottom): Family wisdom keeper and great-grandmother, Georgia Mills Jessup (Pamunkey), is just one of the many descendants of Opechancanough.


In reality the territorial and cultural histories of the United States of America began at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, with the establishment of the first successful permanent English settlement in North America. The American Revolution and Opechancanough's Wars share a similar quest, to rid the fledgling country of the English. The people who became "Americans" (through acculturation) were distinct from the English and had done so by first "going Native" and surviving off Powhatan II's generosity. During those early years, the English survived by trading or stealing Powhatan corn since they did not grow enough crops to feed themselves. The English were more interested in growing "brown gold" (tobacco) which was traded overseas as a major cash crop. Pocahontas' second husband, John Rolfe, previously had introduced a milder Taino tobacco to the American colony. The indigenous Caribbean Amerindian cash crop helped to finance the American Revolution. Americans became distinct from their colonial master, the English, by adopting Native American lifestyles and customs. For example, "historians, including Donald Grinde of the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, have claimed that the democratic ideals of the Gayanashagowa [the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois] provided a significant inspiration to Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and other framers of the United States Constitution"--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iroquois_Constitution). It seems fitting that the first hero of this pivotal founding of a country was the Native American, and a man named Opechcancanough (pronounced in English as Opi-can-canoe).


(Top): !980's photograph of Powhatan's Mantle viewed at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England by Rose Powhatan (Pamunkey/Tauxenent)

(Bottom): Photo of the mantle showing a man between his two totems, a mountain lion and a deer. Surrounding them are circles representing 32-34 Algonquian nations in what the English termed a "kingdom", approximately between 18,700 to 19,250 square miles.
































We should make a commemorative statue to the American hero Opechancanough who was a  younger brother of  paramount chief Wahunsenacawh  (Powhatan II, the statesman who expanded the confederation of 8 Algonquian nations into one of 34 before he was 60 years old). As seen above, Opechancanough was  primarily known as the  nationalist war chief who masterminded the inter-tribal Indian rebellion  of 1622, and later 1644, until he was assassinated while held in captivity by  the English colonists in  Virginia in 1646. There are many theories about the true identity of Opechancanough as well as his rationale for instigating the ingeniously coordinated Virginia Indian rebellions. 

Some believe that Opechancanough may have been the captured Indian youth, initially taken to Mexico, where he was baptized and given the name "Don Luís" and educated by the Dominicans. He was later taken to Spain. During his two years in Spain, he met King Phillip II. While he was in Spain, he was generally assumed to be "the son of a Chief". He eventually left Spain for Havana, Cuba, in the company of Dominican missionaries. Don Luis carried on the Powhatan tradition of being a great speaker, and seems to have mastered the art of persuasion. He convinced the Dominicans to return with him to his homeland, under the pretense of helping them in their quest to "Christianize" his fellow tribesmen. Phillip II wanted to establish a missionary settlement in the Tidewater region of Virginia (then known as "Ajacan"). Some historians believe that Opechancanough was that unnamed captive, and his experiences among the Spanish may have influenced his deep distrust of European settlers in the "New World". He must have known that their plans for colonization would result in the cultural annihilation and displacement of his people by the Europeans.


The above caption under the illustration exhibits the writer's (Rountree) misgivings. First, the English concept of royalty allowed them to recognize "kings" and "queens" among the Native American leadership, especially because of the expanse of Powhatan II's territory. Second, Algonquians, who the 17th century English met, were considered to be extremely tall (e.g. Powhatan II was described as over six feet tall). In comparison, the average height of late 16th century Englishmen was 5 feet 6 inches.

 


Another theory about Opechancanough's distrust of Europeans can be found in the writing of John Smith. Smith boasted of having shamed the well-respected leader by holding a pistol to his breast while marching him in front of his assembled tribesmen. Smith, as seen in his memoirs of the Pocahontas Story (Pocahontas: Patron Saint of Colonial Miscegenation? by Kiros Auld --http://powhatanmuseum.com/Pocahontas.html), tended to exaggerate his power and stature. The Pamunkey warriors laid aside their weapons in an attempt to save the life of Opechancanough, not out of cowardice, but in solidarity of their love for him. Opechancanough was shown an egregious lack of respect by John Smith -- ibid http://powhatanmuseum.com/Opechancanough.html.



On March 22nd, some Eastern Woodlands Native Americans, in the know, will quietly celebrate Opechancanough's strategic attempts to rid his territory of the increasing number of English interlopers. Why not join Virginia Natives by including in your meal for that day, turkey or venison (or any Virginia game animal, i.e. raccoon, muskrat, etc.), plus vegetarian succotash and corn bread or pone (two Powhatan Algonquian words). Or, as a learning assignment, you may want to practice a few of their following American words:
"In addition to other current Algonquian dialects and dictionaries, the Powhatan's language is not dead. Algonquian is the language of the first indigenous Americans to intimately interact with the English. Their words below survive in the English language as Caucus -- from corcas. from caucauasu or "counselor". First recorded by Captain John Smith. Today, it is a political meeting, especially on Powhatan II's old territory where, according to an English chronicler, he liked to caucus with surrounding tribes (on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC) to make decisions. 


Opechancanough's descendants are Still Here!


NOTES: 

 

Some of the Powhatan Algonquian words below survive in the English language as Caucus -- from corcas. from caucauasu or “counselor,” and was first recorded by Captain John Smith.  According to an English chronicler, he liked to caucus with surrounding tribes on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to make decisions. The chronicler also stated that "Powhatan never left his territory"; Chipmunk -- from chitmunk. Hominy -- corn; Honk-- from is from cohonk, the source of honk, honkey (or honkie), honky-tonk, from the cohonk, a noisy Canadian goose. It is associated with the sound made by the bird, or associated with winter or a year. The Powhatans called the "Potomac" River, called Cohonkarutan, "the River of the Cohonks" for the noise made by the yearly arrival of the geese there; Match coat -- from matchcores, skins or garment; Maypop -- from mahcawq, a vine with purple and white flowers that has an edible yellow fruit; Moccasin -- from mohkussin, a shoe; Muskrat -- from mussascns; Opossum -- also possum, from aposoum, or "white beast"; Papoose -- an infant or young child; Pecan -- a nut, from paccan; Persimmon -- a fruit; Poke weed -- from pak, or pakon, blood + weed; Pone (Corn Pone) -- from apan, "baked". Powwow -- from pawwaw, an Algonquian medicine man. A dance ceremony used to invoke divine aid in hunting, battle, or against disease. Now used as a Pan-Indian word for a social dance festival; Racoon -- from aroughcun; Susquehanna -- from suckahanna, water; Squaw --  from Werowansqua, a female chief associated now with a derogatory term for an Indian woman or a vagina, now obsolete; Terrapin -- a turtle, from toolepeiwa; Tomahawk -- from tamahaac, tamohake, a weapon. From temah- (to cut off by tool) + aakan (a noun suffix); Tump (tump line) -- a strap or string hung across the forehead or chest to support a load carried on the back. -- http://powhatanmuseum.com/Children_Corner.html "