Native Law & Policy

The blog was created by the law firm of Walker Law LLC, whose founder, Elizabeth T. Walker (Liz), has been assisting six of the Virginia Indian Tribes with their quest for Federal Recognition through Congress. Various members of the Tribes will be contributing to the blog, including Wayne Adkins the current president of VITAL that is the non profit organization created to promote the efforts to achieve sovereignty or the Acknowledgement by the Federal Government of the Tribes' sovereign status.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

First Day in the UK, Associated Press Article.

American Indians make pilgrimage to England to grave of Pocahontas

By Sarah Ball
1:41 p.m. July 14, 2006

GRAVESEND, England – Americans Indians from Virginia traveled to the burial place of Pocahontas on Friday as part of celebrations marking next year's 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the oldest English settlement in the New World. A 50-member delegation attended a private ceremony to honor their fabled ancestor, who acted as an ambassador between British settlers and her Algonquin kinsmen in the early 17th century.

“We're here to acknowledge the fact that the people of England have protected the remains of Pocahontas – they have honored her memory, and I think they've just done due diligence,” said Chief Stephen Adkins of the Chickahominy tribe. The moment was tinged with sadness for Adkins, who noted that when the first English settlers landed in 1607 there were 35 to 40 Virginia woodland tribes. “There are now eight,” he said. The visit was part of a series of events on both sides of the Atlantic to mark the anniversary of Jamestown's settlement in 1607. The Virginia Indians reveled in the chance to do the journey in reverse – from the New World to the old one – and to show off the finer points of their culture.

Amid blustery summer winds, spectators lined the manicured hedges of an Elizabethan manor lawn to watch as nine men from the delegation – most swathed in fringed buckskin tunics, turkey feather bustles and deerhide pelts – circled around a drum, pounding in unison and singing the names of the tribes. The rest of the delegation formed pairs, marching and dancing around a fountain in the garden to the drum beat – the ritual a colorful focal point of a welcome ceremony in the southeastern English town of Gravesend.

Lord Watson of Richmond, the co-chairman of the Jamestown 2007 British committee, stressed the longtime ties between the two groups as he spoke after the dance. The tribesmen presented local representatives with gifts from their home state including a traditional Pamonkey clay pot and a large bundle of dried tobacco leaves, the cash crop of Virginia that attracted English investors. “It is tradition that when you go to visit an elder or a dignitary, you respect them by bringing tobacco – one of the four sacred herbs,” said Kevin Smith, a member of the Nansemond tribe. “It is only fitting that since we have been welcomed by this country, that we respect and honor them in the same way.”

Members of the delegation also enjoyed traditional English summertime food. Rappahannock tribesman Jacob Fortune-Deuber, 15, sat in one of the manor's libraries in a rigid 17th-century Windsor chair in his full feather-and-deerskin regalia, eating strawberries and cream out of a silver bowl. “This is a chance for all the tribes to get together – we haven't been together in a long time,” Fortune-Deuber said.

Pocahontas is known for saving New World explorer Capt. John Smith from execution in 1607, and legend has it the two later became lovers. About five years later she was kidnapped by the English to be used as a pawn in dealings with her father, Powhatan, chief of the Algonquin Nation. Pocahontas converted to Christianity in 1613 and married tobacco planter John Rolfe. The couple sailed for England in 1616, but the newlywed princess became ill and died of an undetermined illness the next year. Though historians know little about her, fictionalized accounts of her life have appeared in art and media for centuries – most recently in a 1995 animated Disney musical and a live-action historical thriller, “The New World,” released in January.
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At 12:11 PM, Blogger Loyi said...

Just wanted to tell everyone how much we are enjoying the reading and the pictures. We would love to see more pics though!!! Hope everyone's doing well. Mom, Ash, Darlene, Jessie and Seth...WE MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU AND CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO COME.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Kordi Adkins said...

Another chapter in history is being written at this moment. This event shows that establishing peace cannot be accomplished by sitting at home and screaming at the injustices that you see in the media. Going out into the world and facing the past and the fact that you can't change history is very important. History doesn't have to be repeated, history is made everyday from actions in the present. To my friends and family in England at this moment, I love you and miss you and think that what you are doing is wonderful. To the new friends that you've made in England, thank you for welcoming and taking care of the people that I love. My mom, Brenda Montez, has done nothing but spoken highly of the hospitality. I miss you guys! Love ya

At 3:15 PM, Blogger robin said...

Thank you so much for the daily postings. I am enjoying so much reading about what is going on during this historical and important trip. May God keep you all in his loving arms and return you home to us safely.


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