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Virginia Indian Heritage Lectures in June Highlight Final Month of 'Werowocomoco: Seat of Power' Exhibition at Jamestown Settlement

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., May 9, 2011 — In conjunction with the “Werowocomoco: Seat of Power” special exhibition at Jamestown Settlement, two Virginia Indian heritage lectures by leading scholars will be presented during its final month, at 7 p.m. Saturdays, June 4 and 18.

Through June 30, Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia, features artifacts spanning 10,000 years from Werowocomoco – Virginia’s original “capital” city and the principal residence of Powhatan, paramount chief of 30-some Indian tribes in Virginia’s coastal region at the time English colonists arrived in 1607. Archaeological research in the past decade has revealed not only that the York River site was a uniquely important place during Powhatan’s time, but also that its role as a political, spiritual and social center predated the Powhatan chiefdom. The exhibition also explores what Werowocomoco means to descendent Virginia Indian communities today.

The public lectures include:

June 4 – In “English Myth-Making and Indian Reality: Early English Stereotypes of the Virginia Indians,”Helen C. Rountree examines the perceptions of Virginia Lectures - Helen Rountree.jpgIndians by early English colonists in the 17th century, the Virginia Indian reality behind those stereotypes, and views that persist about the culture in society today. Dr. Rountree is widely acknowledged as one of the leading researchers and writers on Virginia Indians and East Coast tribes.  She received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and spent nearly three decades on the faculty of Old Dominion University.  Dr. Rountree is the author of nine books, including “Pocahontas, Powhatan, and Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown” and “Pocahontas’s People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries.”

June 18 – In “Werowocomoco: Seat of Power,” Martin D. Gallivan, guest curator of the Jamestown Settlement special exhibition, will  discuss the archaeological investigations at Werowocomoco Lectures - Martin Gallivan notch.jpgthat have uncovered evidence of interaction with Jamestown’s colonists and the ways that the Powhatan Indians constructed a powerful, central place in Tidewater Virginia from A.D. 1200 through 1607. Dr. Gallivan, College of William and Mary associate professor of anthropology, has been involved in the archaeological research at the Gloucester County site since 2003 as part of the Werowocomoco Research Group and has written numerous academic articles on the findings. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

The special exhibition was developed in cooperation with the Werowocomoco site owners Robert F. and C. Lynn Ripley, the Virginia Indian Advisory Board and the Werowocomoco Research Group, and is funded by a grant from James City County.

Jamestown Settlement, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is located southwest of Williamsburg on Route 31 at the Colonial Parkway next to Historic Jamestowne, site of the 1607 English settlement.

The evening public lectures on June 4 and 18 are free. Advance reservations are recommended atrsvp@jyf.virginia.gov or (757) 253-5185. The special exhibition is included with Jamestown Settlement general admission of $15.50 for adults and $7.25 for ages 6 through 12. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg receive complimentary admission with proof of residency.

For more information about the public lectures, special exhibition and Jamestown Settlement, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.