The Other Jamestown

The Algonquian Exchange

Pomeiooc Indian Village

“…I have seen the death of my people thrice.” Chief Wahunsenacah(Powhatan) (Original Source) See also: Wahunsenach and John Smith on Peace and War

Othering

Othering” defines the historical treatment of Native Americans that began at Jamestown and has continued to this day. “Other” is a trope, in this case for a people who are perceived to be culturally deficient or deviant from the white Anglo-Saxon norm. First, European colonizers labeled them as savages, later Virginia’s native peoples were forced onto reservations in the seventeenth-century, assumed to be no longer extant in the eighteenth- and nineteenth centuries, defined as “coloreds” in the twentieth-century(Virginia’s 1924 Racial Exclusion Law), and excluded them from federal benefits in health care and education into the twenty-first century. Not until January 29, 2018,┬ádid the federal government recognize these original Virginia tribes (all Algonquian speaking except the Monacan, a Siouxan tribe): Pamukey, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Nansemond, and Monacan.

The central theme of this website is the Algonquian Exchange, a device for probing the cultural and other consequences of the interaction between the colonizers and the Algonquian Indians of Early Virginia.

Story Lines

English Settlements

1613
Map of Virginia (Use keys to navigate)
Deerskin Map: Indian Nations between South
Carolina and the Mississippi River [C. 1724].
The National Archives (British)
Virtual Indian Town
Smith’s Capture

 

Algonquian Dances

Critical Inquiries

  • What is the Algonquian Exchange and why is it important
  • Why did Wahunsenacah (Powhatan) allow the English colony to survive?
  • Who are liminals and what roles did they play in Roanoke and Jamestown?
  • Why is 1619 a pivotal year in the Virginia colony?
  • How did John Rolfe and Matoaka (Pocahontas) facilitate the rise of a tobacco economy?
  • What caused the “starving winter?”
  • What led to the “Paspahagh Massacre“?
  • Were the Algonquians naturally prone to violence?
  • How do you think the absence of women, knowledge of the environment, and access to food resources affected conditions in early Jamestown?

Dr. Crandall Shifflett

Professor Emeritus
Virginia Tech
For K-16 students and teachers
See also, http://www.virtualjamestown.org