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Virginia Indian Tribes

Virginia Tribes_Chickahominy and Nansemond tribes at a Jamestown Settlement Indigenous Arts Day event in 2022

Virginia Indian tribes have maintained their cultures for centuries, sharing their customs with the public and passing down traditions for future generations. Shown are members of the Chickahominy and Nansemond tribes at a Jamestown Settlement Indigenous Arts Day event in 2022.

Virginia Indian Tribes Today

CHEROENHAKA (NOTTOWAY)

The Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe of Southampton County is centered near Courtland, where the Nottoway River meets the Blackwater River to form the Chowan River, and it shares its early history with the Nottoway Indian Tribe. State recognition: 2010.

CHICAHOMINY

Members of the Chickahominy Tribe live in Charles City County, midway between Richmond and Williamsburg, near the tribe’s location at the time of European contact along the Chickahominy River. State recognition: 1983. Federal recognition: 2018.

CHICAHOMINY EASTERN DIVISION

The Chickahominy Tribe Eastern Division is centered 25 miles east of Richmond in New Kent County. The tribe maintains 41 acres of land, where a tribal center continues its traditions. State recognition: 1983. Federal recognition: 2018.

MATTAPONI

The Mattaponi Tribe, one of only two Virginia Indian tribes that hold state reservations, live on the Mattaponi River in King William County. The Mattaponi Indian Reservation was created from the land held by the tribe and confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1658, making it one of the oldest reservations in the country. State recognition: 1983.

MONACAN

The Monacan Indian Nation, located in Amherst County, is one of the oldest groups of Indigenous peoples still existing in their ancestral homeland, and the only group of Eastern Siouan remaining in the state. Native habitation dates back more than 10,000 years, and its original territory comprised more than half of Virginia, including almost all of the central Piedmont and parts of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains. State recognition: 1989. Federal recognition: 2018.

NANSAMOND

The Nansemond Tribe, at the time of English contact, lived in several communities on both sides of the Nansemond River centered near Chuckatuck in present-day Suffolk. Today, most descendants live in Suffolk and Chesapeake. State recognition: 1985. Federal recognition: 2018.

NOTTOWAY

The Nottoway Indian tribal area is near Capron in Southampton County. Prior to 1607, several distinct groups of Iroquoian-speaking people, including the Nottoway, lived in the Virginia-North Carolina coastal plain. Located inland, the Nottoway remained relatively undisturbed by the incursions and expansion of the English colony during the first half of the 17th century. State recognition: 2010.

RAPPAHANNOCK

The Rappahannock Tribe is centered in the Indian Neck area of King and Queen County. In December 1607, the Rappahannock people first met Captain John Smith at their capital town “Topahanocke,” on the banks of the Rappahannock River. State recognition: 1983. Federal recognition: 2018.

PAMUNKEY

The Pamunkey Indian Reservation, one of only two in Virginia, lies on the Pamunkey River adjacent to King William County and contains approximately 1,200 acres, nearly half wetlands. Forty-three families reside on the reservation, and many tribal members live in nearby Richmond and Newport News, as well as other parts of Virginia and the United States. State recognition: 1983. Federal recognition: 2015.

PATAWOMECK

The Patawomeck Indian Tribe is based in today’s Stafford County along the Potomac River. The Patawomeck loosely allied itself with the Powhatan paramount chiefdom, but its remote location led to alliances with other Native groups or with early English settlers. John Smith visited the town in 1608 while exploring Virginia tributaries, and young colonist Henry Spelman took refuge there and recorded life among the Patawomeck people. State recognition: 2010.

UPPER MATTAPONI

The Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe is centered in King William County and shares its early history with the Mattaponi Tribe. In 1612 on his map of Virginia, Captain John Smith identified the town of Passaunkack at the location of the present day Upper Mattaponi. State recognition: 1983. Federal recognition: 2018.


The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, an educational agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administers Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.