Environment | Federal Recognition

NPS urged to consult tribes about preserving Powhatan village

A view of Werowocomoco in Virginia. Photo from Werowocomoco Research Project

The National Park Service could receive $6 million to acquire Werowocomoco, the historic home of Chief Powhatan in Virginia.

The money would be used to buy 250 acres and to create interpretive materials. Tribes should be consulted as part of the process, an archaeologist who has led excavations at the site said.

“I think it deserves that status given the events that occurred there in the early Colonial period and the deeper history of the Powhatans,” Martin Gallivan, a professor at the College of William and Mary, told the Associated Press. “If it was included in the national park system that would give the American public the chance to learn that history.”

Werowocomoco, which means "place of chiefs" in the Powhatan language, is about 15 miles from Jamestown, where European immigrants settled in 1607. Tribes helped the new arrivals endure harsh winters and they later negotiated the first treaties with European governments.

Despite their role in early U.S. history, the tribes have not been recognized by the federal government. If Congress approves the funds to buy Werowocomoco, NPS says it will work with Virginia Indians.

“That planning would have to consider the best approach for visitor experiences while at the same time protecting the archaeological and spiritual significance of the place,” NPS spokesperson Cindy Chance told the AP.

Get the Story:
Obama eyes sacred Va. Indian site as US park unit (AP 5/27)

Related Stories:
Historic Powhatan site might be added to National Park Service (5/20)
Agreement protects important site in Powhatan Tribe history (6/18)
Powhatan's village to be placed on National Register (3/28)

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