Opinion

Opinion: Annual rite obscures mistreatment of Virginia tribes





"In a touching Thanksgiving Day “annual rite,” Gov. Bob McDonnell and first lady Maureen McDonnell accepted a buck presented by Chief Carl Custalow, leader of the Mattaponi Indian tribe, and a deer and Canadian goose from Chief Kevin Brown of the Pamunkey Indian tribe.

This annual rite supposedly dates back to a 1677 treaty in which Virginia’s tribes present gifts to the governor of the commonwealth in place of paying taxes. In the 1677 treaty, Virginia’s Indian leaders acknowledged the rule of the King of England while the latter acknowledged the rights of Indian tribes.

During the ceremony, McDonnell announced that as soon as 2013, a new monument in tribute to Virginia’s Indians will be erected on Capitol grounds.

The problem with these pleasantries is that they obscure the brutality through which most of Virginia’s Indian tribes were subjugated from the beginning of the colonial period of the North American continent until quite recent times.[2] According to one source, “By 1722, there were no longer records of many of the tribes previously noted, although their people still lived together in one or more enclaves.”"

Get the Story:
Daniel Carawan: Thanksgiving “annual rite” with Indian tribes obscures Virginia’s past (The Richmond Progressive Examiner 11/24)