I have written many, many times about how little most Americans know and are taught in our schools about the full and complete history of the United States.
Most of our history books and classrooms seem to assume that American history began with the arrival of Europeans and Manifest Destiny.
The truth of course is starkly different. Indigenous societies and civilizations occupied and flourished in North America for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
The Pamunkey Tribe museum in Viriginia is one place to start learing that fuller story.
According to the news report, the museum tells a fascinating story.
On May 13, 1607, 104 Englishmen came ashore on the James River and began building houses and a fort they called Jamestown. Chief Powhatan and more than 15,000 of his people were already living nearby, and all along Virginia’s coastal regions.
Powhatan would travel by canoe to visit his 32 tribes, including the most powerful–the Pamunkey Indian tribe. The Pamunkey have been living along the river bearing their tribal name in King William County for at least 12,000 years according to archaeologists and anthropologists.
The Tribe signed a 1677 treaty with the English, and according to its terms, tribal leaders continue to take a slain deer or turkey as a token of friendship to the Virginia governor every year around Thanksgiving.
As the English colonists spread out from Jamestown, they cleared forests the Indians regarded as their land. The colonists turned woodlands into fields and began growing corn, beans and squash–foods the Indians had shown them how to grow.
In Powhatan’s time, the Pamunkey tribe’s lands included all of what is King William County and far beyond, said Warren Cook, 73, a tribal leader and co-founder of the Pamunkey Indian Museum. Only 38 families still live on the 1,200 acres of the reservation today, according to Chief Robert Gray, a chief master sergeant in the Virginia Air National Guard.