To celebrate Native American Heritage Month and educate people about Virginia Indians, the Virginia Department of Education has put together an informative 25-minute video entitled “The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes.”
The video starts in a classroom with fifth-grader Keenan Stewart, a member of the Chickahominy tribe and student at Charles City Elementary School, explaining to his class how there are 11 state recognized tribes in Virginia and where the reservations are. Keenan narrates the entire video and even explains how many Virginia Indians don’t live on reservations, they instead have been purchasing lands around their ancestral homelands. He also tells them about fish hatcheries in the state run by tribes.
Keenan tells his class about pottery and that nobody is sure how long the Pamunkey have been making pottery, “but it was a long time before Jamestown was built.”
The video touches on language, education, culture, pow wows, and talks about each of the tribes in Virginia—the Mattaponi, Pamunkey, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi, Nansemond, Monacan Indian Nation, Cheroenhaka Nottoway, Nottoway of Virginia and the Patawomeck.
“I’m excited to make this video available to our teachers and students,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said in a press release. “Students will not only learn about various tribes who lived here before Virginia became a colony, but will see that Virginia Indians continue to make history today.”
The video isn’t all that is available. There is information about history, geography, culture, and downloadable teaching materials. The website is designed for elementary, middle and high school teachers to instruct their students about Virginia Indians.
All of the materials are available at VirginiaIndians.pwnet.org.
“The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes” video was produced for VDOE by Prince William Network, the distance education division of Prince William County Public Schools with assistance from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, PNC Foundation, Rotary District 7610 of Rotary International, Bachman Aviation and Elena Ellis.