Tribes Then and Now

Marks of Tribes of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Engraving by Thedor de Bry, 1590. The image and its explanation appears in Thomas Harriot, A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia, 1588. Harriot reports that these markings typically appeared on the backs of Indians. According to Harriot, mark A are the kinds of marks found on those belonging to the Chief of the Roanoke Indians; mark B, that of the Roanoke Chief’s sister’s husband; mark C and D to diverse chiefs in the town Secotan; marks E, F, and G, to chief men of the towns of Pomeiooc and Aquascogoc.

Tribes Then and Now is a page devoted to Virginia Indians and their history and treatment from 1607 to the present.

Monacan Nation to Add Virginia Health Center

The Monacan Nation will add a new health center in Amherst County, Virginia. The center will treat all Native Americans belonging to federally recognized tribes (21 October 2032).

Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet Nation dies at age 92

A New Map on the Landscapes of Southwest Virginia prior to European Arrival

Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report May 2022

This 106-page report confirms that the United States directly targeted American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children in the pursuit of a policy of cultural assimilation that coincided with Indian territorial dispossession. It identifies the Federal Indian boarding schools that were used as a means for these ends, along with at least 53 burial sites for children across this system- with more site discoveries and data expected as we continue our research.

The Federal Indian boarding school policy was intentionally targeted at American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children to assimilate them and, consequently, take their territories.

According to the report “The Federal Indian boarding school system deployed systematic militarized and identity-alteration methodologies to attempt to assimilate American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children through education, including but not limited to the following: (1) renaming Indian children from Indian to English names; (2) cutting hair of Indian children; (3) discouraging or preventing the use of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian languages, religions, and cultural practices; and (4) organizing Indian and Native Hawaiian children into units to perform military drills.”

Recent News

Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico congresswoman, has been confirmed as Secretary of the Interior. She is the first Native American in history to hold a cabinet position.

  • Today there 574 federally recognized tribes.
  • The 1900 census enumerated 237,000 North American Indians. This number represents a population collapse of 90%.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more Native Americans than any other group. Deaths among Native Americans are one in every 475 compared to one in every 645 African Americans and one in 121 white Americans (ARM Research Lab).
  • Despite more general acceptance of the vaccines and willingness to be vaccinated ,distribution in tribal communities has been less than the demand.
  • President Joe Biden has created a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force in response to the inequities in healthcare among minority population groups across the United States. 

Covid Vaccinations in Native American Communities

  • Cherokee in Northeast Oklahoma have 141,000 on the reservation, but vaccine supply is greater than the demand.
  • The Osage Nation in Northeast Oklahoma are vaccinating 200/day with capability to vaccinate 500/day.
  • The Navaho Nation is 70% vaccinated.
  • The virus has killed American Indians at twice the rate of white people.
  • Vaccine rollout in Native communities has been a surprising source of strength compared to Black and Hispanic communities.

Native American Needs:

  • access to water and electricity

In the Navaho Nation, 30 to 40 percent have no running water; 30 to 40 percent are without electricity.

  • improvements to roads and bridges
  • adequate health care

The Indian Health Service includes 26 hospitals, 56 health centers, and 32 health stations serving 2.2 million tribal members

  • shutdown the Dakota Access Pipeline that crosses north of Standing Rock Sioux reservation
  • end the rollback protection of Bear Ears National Monument that President Trump started to boost oil production
  • support Indian schools

Navaho Nation Reaches Zero Cases and Deaths

The Navaho Nation with the worst Covid-19 case rates in the United States has reached a level of zero cases and deaths in a twenty-four hour period. How? They followed strict health guidelines for masks and a lockdown. Also important has been the collaboration of Indian Health Service with Deb Haaland, the new Secretary of the Interior, and the Relief Bill in providing vaccination resources.

Podcast: U.S. Parks From Indigenous Voices

Episode 1: Yellowstone

Episode 2: Grand Canyon

Others to follow…

Indian Towns Added

Indian Town (recreated)

This new page includes a description of the hundreds of Indian towns located in the Chesapeake Bay region when the first invaders arrived. Most of them are Algonquian-speaking towns. Typically located on the rivers which often bear the name of the tribe and the river. Captain John Smith took two trips up the rivers of the area and created the famous Map of Virginia. This page describes the types of towns, their subsistence economies, and everyday life in them. They ranged in size from 40 warriors (the way Smith described them) up to thousands. Household size was 3-4 members, i.e., a town of 40 warriors would have 120 to 160 Indian residents.