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YRSCB Steering Committee Pamunkey Paddle

Pamunkey Tribe Sculpture



Powhatan Marker



Pocahontas Marker


Kayak and canoe trip led by Calm Water Adventures, Aylett, VA - Christian Van Landingham, Guide

Summary of activities so far in 2016:

  • 2 pet waste stations for apartment complex in Ashland, in the Totopotomoy watershed; Some money still available for another station
  • Planning for the SC meeting/paddle (Dragon which was cancelled and Pamunkey too)
  • Webmaster updates to site – reminder to please send news, etc to Karen
  • MPRA completed Rainbarrel workshop and stewardship campaign
  • Pet waste composter program advertised in Orange (connected to the Upper York IP)
  • Next meeting at Acorn community in Louisa, to see Green Roof project and have VCAP presentation

Attendance list:

  • Liz Chudoba, Alliance for the CB
  • Izabela Sikora, Tri County City SWCD (TCCSWCD)
  • Kyle Haynes, TCCSWCD
  • Christine Tombleson, VIMS
  • Dawn Shank, MPRA
  • Audrey Mitchell, MPRA
  • Janice Moore, Friends of Dragon Run
  • Anne Ducey Ortiz, Friends of Dragon Run/Gloucester Co.
  • Karen Reay, Baywater Communications
  • Denise Mosca, environmental consultant
  • Sharon Conner, Hanover Caroline SWCD
  • Rebecca Shoemaker, DEQ-NRO
  • May Sligh, DEQ-NRO
  • Eileen Periverzov, DEQ-CO

Stargazer, aka Debra Martin, a member of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe was the guest speaker. We discovered many interesting facts about the Tribe. They had just received federal status in 2015 - the only one in the state of Virginia. Why so long? Their original treaty was not with the United States (which hadn't been founded yet) but rather with the King of England in 1646! Their people have occupied the area for more than 10,000 years before European contact. They are only one of two tribes in Virginia that retain reservation lands with the other being the Mattaponi Reservation.

The Pamunkey have inhabited coastal tidewater area on the north side of the James River and maintained a subsistence lifestyle of fishing, trapping, hunting and farming. The Pamunkey River was vital to their people for transportation to other areas to farm as well as natural resources.

Resources for the Pamunkey included clay from the riverbank to make their pottery. They have a lovely blackware and originally got their clay from the riverbank. This clay was gathered then put through a mesh to remove rocks and impurities. They make their pots smooth with a burnishing technique...lots of rubbing!

Another important resource was fish - especially the shad. The shad hatchery was built in 1918 for food and also sustains the population of fish in the river with release of fry.

Other area tribes are the Mattaponi, Chickahominy (hominy or corn people), Rappahannock, and Nottoway. Their greeting is "Wingapo" and "Ana" means goodbye.

The Pamunkey people are part of the Algonquin speaking tribes with a strong oral tradition and a matriarchal society. Each family line came through the mother and children were raised by the mother's family.

There were many difficult time periods for the Pamunkey with a recent issue in the 1960's during a time of racial tension and no distinction between races other than "white" or "colored."

After integration, the children were allowed to attend local public schools. The original Native American schoolhouse still stands on the reservation and is being restored for use as a meeting room and business office. Chief Bob Gray was kind enough to give a quick side tour of the schoolhouse to a few members he met in the parking area.

See photos (Courtesy Christine Tombleson and Karen Reay) below and click on each photo to enlarge.

Meeting at Reservation Kayak heads toward open water Paddlers begin journey Rafting up
Isabela talking with May Starting out Floatilla
Almost home Just a few more strokes Canoers enjoying the day out Canoe and kayak
Beautiful scenery Almost bumping Paddling on the Pamunkey Getting our bearings



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