Meet Virginia Tribes for Native American Heritage Month


To celebrate Native American Heritage Month and educate people about Virginia Indians, the Virginia Department of Education has put together an informative 25-minute video entitled “The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes.”

The video starts in a classroom with fifth-grader Keenan Stewart, a member of the Chickahominy tribe and student at Charles City Elementary School, explaining to his class how there are 11 state recognized tribes in Virginia and where the reservations are. Keenan narrates the entire video and even explains how many Virginia Indians don’t live on reservations, they instead have been purchasing lands around their ancestral homelands. He also tells them about fish hatcheries in the state run by tribes.

Keenan tells his class about pottery and that nobody is sure how long the Pamunkey have been making pottery, “but it was a long time before Jamestown was built.”

The video touches on language, education, culture, pow wows, and talks about each of the tribes in Virginia—the Mattaponi, Pamunkey, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi, Nansemond, Monacan Indian Nation, Cheroenhaka Nottoway, Nottoway of Virginia and the Patawomeck.

“I’m excited to make this video available to our teachers and students,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said in a press release. “Students will not only learn about various tribes who lived here before Virginia became a colony, but will see that Virginia Indians continue to make history today.”

The video isn’t all that is available. There is information about history, geography, culture, and downloadable teaching materials. The website is designed for elementary, middle and high school teachers to instruct their students about Virginia Indians.

All of the materials are available at

“The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes” video was produced for VDOE by Prince William Network, the distance education division of Prince William County Public Schools with assistance from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, PNC Foundation, Rotary District 7610 of Rotary International, Bachman Aviation and Elena Ellis. 

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



Frank Rockwell's picture
Frank Rockwell
Submitted by Frank Rockwell on
As a native Virginian, I am so touched by this presentation and feel regret that I do not know more about our Native American predecessors. I have always had the greatest respect for these indigenous persons but failed to fully understand the rich heritage of their culture. Thanks for this presentation. It should be required watching in every Virginia elementary school.

Mai Chang's picture
Mai Chang
Submitted by Mai Chang on
I loved the story about all the American Indians of Virginia,because I belong to the Cherokee tribes. and my grandfather brought many acres of land though the Homestead act. This land will be used for all English families around.

Linda J Graham's picture
Linda J Graham
Submitted by Linda J Graham on
When I attended one our family reunions years ago I learned that my father's side of the family was related to a southern Native American tribe, the Powhatan, this video has been helpful to me in taking the first step to do further research. Loved this video, thank you so much for sharing.