A PowhatanMuseum.com educational event
There is no excuse for not honoring the people whose land you occupy.
Rose Powhatan giving a Land
Acknowledgement blessing on August 8,
2020 in her DC home in "Attan Akamik,"
the Algonquian name for the Powhatan
Territory on which her NW portion of
Washington, DC was built. The South West
portion of the city was also included in her
ancestral area. (See map and video ceremony
In this time of heightened awareness of cultural inclusiveness it is necessary to
honor the First People of the American landscape. However, research and not
speculation must be made about the legitimacy of the tribal claim to the
territory in question.
How is this done?
• Here is one process that was conducted on August 8, 2020 in Washington DC.
The YouTube broadcast ceremony below was for the opening of the over three
hour long celebratory video. The event began with two Native American Diné/
Pamunkey boys and their Pamunkey/Tauxenent nali (grandmother) giving a
blessing for the Sankofa Foundation’s commemoration of the 55th Anniversary
of the Voting Rights Act that began in Washington, DC.
A Brief Land Acknowledgment History
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and
respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the
enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their
Even in 2020, the continued individual and collective Native American attachment
to ancestral territory is evidenced by the 1587 Powhatan image below.
The image was recorded in watercolor by John White on his first English
expedition to the North American coastline on the Chesapeake Bay in July, 1587.
Twenty-six years earlier in 1561, the arriving Spanish visitors had named it Ajacán, a term used by the local kidnapped Paquiquineo, later renamed
Don Luís de Velasco. Paquiquineo was taken to Spain and presented at court
to King Philip II.
Paquiquineo's attachment to his ancestral land was evidenced by his
successful attemp to have the Spanish return him to his homeland in
the Chesapeake Bay, where his people promptly executed his
(Click on "Ajacán" to see his story.)
Important Tribal identity: A De Brey etching of a Powhatan Indian
with identifying tribal tattoos. Evidence of strong national affiliation.
Recorded by John White's 1587 watercolors that captured
images of Indigenous Amerindians.
How To Begin
Washington, DC was built on Algonquian territory. Algonquian was the largest
linguistic group of indigenous people in North America. Their ancestral territory
spread from Canada to the Carolinas. in DC, it is believed that they have been
here for over 12,000 years. Their many descendants, survivors of a European
introduced pandemic, enslavement/export and murder, are still here.
1. Identify. “The first step is identifying the traditional inhabitants of the lands
2. Articulate. “Once you've identified the group(s) who should be recognized,
formulate the statement."
3. Deliver. “Offer your acknowledgment as the first element of a welcome to the
next public gathering or event that you host."
The above video clip of indigenous Algonquian Washingtonian Rose Powhatan,
is one example of how this local American Indian ceremony was conducted.
The ceremony was originally intended to be held in front of the Lincoln
Because of the Corona virus and predicted rain, Rose Powhatan (Pamunkey/
Tauxenent) who was born in Washington DC was asked to conduct
the blessing in her North West yard. Her home is located in the Tauxenent
territory which was the portion of DC within the northern most boundary
of the historic Powhatan Paramountcy.
In addition, she is a Indigenous elder, wisdom-keeper and Algonquian storyteller
who was born in the Nation’s Capital 74 years ago to a Pamunkey mother and a
Tauxdnent father. Both tribes were recorded as indigenous to the city and its
Metropolitan Area. Her nations are two of the three tribes recorded as indigenous
to the Capital City, within its original boundary stones.
Some of these boundary stones have been preserved below in their original
Maps of the Nation's Capital that
was carved out of Powhatan Algonquian Territory
One of the preserved original boundary stones used as markers to define
the original Federal City.