- Report Published -
|Report Document No. 14|
PUBLICATION YEAR 2008
|Annual Executive Summary on the Interim Activity and Work of the Virginia Council on Indians|
|Virginia Council on Indians|
During 2007, the Virginia Council on Indians held seven business meetings, in January, February, April, June, September, October and November, in addition to the annual conference in March.
II. Membership Changes
In February 2007, member Frank Adams, Assistant Chief of the Upper Mattaponi, was appointed Chair of the Council following the resignation of the previous Chair, Karenne Wood (Monacan), due to graduate school and work responsibilities.
As of June 30, 2007, the terms of all the gubernatorial-appointed members of the Council ended due to legislative action that changed the membership of the Council. The Code of Virginia section 2.2-2628 was amended to specify the voting Council members as the chiefs of all the state-recognized tribes or their designated delegates, plus two gubernatorial-appointed Indian-at-large members, each of whom is required to be enrolled in a recognized Indian tribe.
At the close of the calendar year, the VCI members were Pamunkey Chief William Miles (elected Chair), Nansemond Assistant Chief Earl Bass (elected Vice-Chair), Upper Mattaponi Chief Ken Adams, Rappahannock Chief Anne Richardson, Chickahominy Chief Stephen Adkins, Mattaponi Chief Carl Custalow, Chickahominy Eastern Division delegate Joanne Howard, and Monacan delegate Sharon Bryant. The Indian-at-large members had not yet been appointed.
III. Legislative Action
The above-mentioned legislative action was instituted by the Governor’s office in consultation with the chiefs of the Virginia-recognized tribes. Consequently the Council itself did not take a position on the legislation.
In addition to addressing the membership of the Council, the legislation, House Bill 1136, added a clause to the Code stating: The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes the continuous contributions of the Indian tribal nations to the Commonwealth's history and culture and hereby reaffirms the spirit and intent of the original treaties between the Tribes and the British Crown in 1646 and 1677 and shall operate, to the extent permitted by the United States Constitution, in accordance with that spirit and intent when dealing with such Virginia tribes as may be officially recognized by the Commonwealth. The new Code also indicated that the Council should appoint an advisory committee of tribal members and members of non-recognized Indian descendant communities to carry out such duties as the Council may assign.
IV. State Recognition Activity
In January 2007, the Council read into the record the receiving of a letter of intent to petition for state recognition by a group known as the Tauxenent Indian Nation of Virginia.
Consideration of the petition for state recognition submitted in October 2006 by the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia Inc. continued, with meetings of the recognition committee being held in January, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Meetings in February and March were cancelled due to lack of a quorum. At the April VCI business meeting, the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia submitted a letter of concern to the Council regarding the slow progress of the petition consideration. Also at the April meeting, the resignations of Chair Reginald Tupponce Sr. and member Chris Peace from the recognition committee were announced, and VCI Chair Frank Adams announced the appointments of Mitchell Bush and Chief Gene Adkins to the committee. Committee member Paige Archer was appointed as committee Chair. In November, the resignations of Chair Paige Archer and three other committee members were submitted, and VCI Chair William Miles stated that he will appoint new committee members and a new Chair in January 2008.
V. Fourth Annual Tribal Leadership Summit
The fourth annual tribal leadership summit was held in January in Charlottesville. The major topics of the summit were the Virginia Indian Heritage Trail guide, the proposed Virginia Indian Heritage Program, and activities to be held during the calendar year in conjunction with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
V. Virginia Indian Heritage Trail
The launching of the Virginia Indian Heritage Trail guidebook, the Jamestown 2007 legacy project of the Council, was a major event in 2007. The guide, a joint partnership of the Virginia Council on Indians and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, was published in time for its inaugural distribution during the Jamestown 400th Anniversary Weekend in May. The initial printing was 40,000 copies. Edited by Karenne Wood, the guide contained tribal histories, general Virginia Indian history and vignettes, descriptions of tribal sites and approved public sites with interpretive content about Virginia Indians, a calendar of events, and other useful information about the Virginia Indian community. The Heritage Trail book was in immediate public demand and garnered much attention as a result of newspaper articles and widespread praise. By the close of the calendar year, almost all of the initial copies had been distributed, and the guidebook was awarded Scenic Virginia’s first Scenic Tourism award. Further editions of the Heritage Trail book will be published under the auspices of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program, administered by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in partnership with the tribal leaders.
VI. Support of Jamestown 2007 Activities
A major goal set by the Virginia Council on Indians in 2006 was the support of Virginia Indian participation in Jamestown 2007 and related activities. Events and activities with participation by the Virginia Council on Indian members and staff included: the Jamestown 2007 Virginia Indian Advisory Board; the Virginia Indian Intertribal Cultural Festival, a Jamestown 2007 signature event held in July; the visit to Virginia by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain; the Jamestown 400th Anniversary Weekend; Jamestown Settlement’s Virginia Indian Heritage Day; Sail Virginia 2007; the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival; the establishment of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail; the John Smith 400 shallop re-creation journey project; the Beyond Jamestown Virginia Indian Summer Seminar for Teachers; the 2007 First Landing Ceremony at First Landing State Park; the 2007 Virginia Festival of the Book; the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s John Smith’s Adventures on the York, Mattaponi and Pamunkey Trail map; the opening of the Beyond Jamestown, Virginia Indians Past and Present temporary exhibit on Virginia Indians curated by Karenne Wood at the Virginia Museum of Natural History; the 2007 Virginia Forum at the Library of Virginia; planning for the Chickahominy Water Trail; and many county and community 2007 partnership programs and events held all over the Commonwealth.
Throughout the year, VCI members were in unprecedented demand as speakers and advisors to civic groups, local organizations, schools, libraries, and colleges for Jamestown 2007 related events and programs.
VII. Historic Highway Marker Program
Another goal from the 2006 Virginia Council on Indians was the continued support of the creation of historic highway markers under a program sponsored by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, in conjunction with the Virginia Historical Society. In 2007, marker dedication ceremonies were held for historic highway markers on the topics of paramount chief Powhatan (Henrico County), Cockacoeske (King William County), Uttamusack (King William County), Black Hawk in Virginia (Richmond), the Paspahegh Indians (Charles City County), and the Indian School at Bear Mountain (Amherst County).