It’s late November, which means it’s time for the annual tax tribute from the Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes at the Virginia governor’s mansion.
After Bacon’s Rebellion, the British Crown concluded a peace treaty with the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indian tribes in 1677. In it, the British reserved certain lands for the tribes, “confirming to them their just Rights.” In return, the Indians and their posterity were to pay the royal governor a token every year in lieu of taxes.
In the tribute ceremony, tribal members honor their ancestors who negotiated the Treaty of Middle Plantation to preserve Virginia Indian lands and the rich heritage they enjoy to this day. The ceremony is the oldest continuing nation-to-nation ceremony in the United States.
So today, Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen McDonnell welcomed Chief Carl Custalow of the Mattaponi Tribe, Chief Kevin Brown of the Pamunkey Tribe, and other tribal members to the Governor’s Mansion to observe the 335th tax tribute ceremony.
Chief Carl Custalow presented them with a piece of pottery decorated with fish and turtles, a beaded feathered medicine bag and an eight point buck deer. Chief Kevin Brown presented them with a drum made by a Pamunkey artisan, a beaded barrette, and a deer. Drumming and dancing followed the presentation of gifts, led by Assistant Chief Mark Custalow.
Governor McDonnell also announced that as soon as next year, there will be a new monument on Capitol grounds – a tribute to Virginia Indians. The Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission recently voted on a design submitted by a Canadian Indian artist and fundraising has begun for the new monument here on the capitol grounds.
Find more photos of this year’s ceremony, plus a throwback photo to the 1928 ceremony with then-Gov. Harry Byrd, below the fold.
We wrote about last year’s tribute as well.
Another photo that we can’t upload to the site due to apparent size restrictions is here: Chief Kevin Brown presents Governor McDonnell with a deer as tax tribute, killed Monday.