Representatives of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi tribes presented Governor Glenn Youngkin with a tribute of deer and tribal gifts, the 345th time tribes have presented tribute to the Virginia governor since the 1677 signing of the Articles of Peace, later known as the Treaty of Middle Plantation.
“At this time we’re here honoring our treaty obligations that I am so proud that the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi have been able to continue for over three centuries doing this. It’s a great honor,” Pamunkey Chief Robert Gray said in the Wednesday ceremony. “And we also thank the Commonwealth of Virginia for what they’ve done for us over the years.”
After colonists attacked some tribes during Bacon’s Rebellion, King Charles II agreed to grant protection to a group of tribes united under Pamunkey Chief Cockacoeske, called the “Queen of the Pamunkey” in the treaty, according to the Encyclopedia Virginia. In exchange, the tribes promised to be subject to the crown and to present tribute. The treaty also included other protections, including the tribal rights to hunting and some protection against slavery.
The ceremony was overshadowed by the mass murder at the Chesapeake Walmart from the night before, and members of the Pamunkey tribe sang and danced in honor of the tragedy and the tribute.
“Thank you to Chief Gray and Chief Custalow along with all members of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi tribes that were here today to honor this sacred agreement between the Commonwealth and your tribal citizens, I appreciate you adjusting the ceremony to remember the lives lost in Chesapeake,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a press release. “Upholding the trust and treaty responsibilities in our relationship is critical to honoring the past, present and future of our Commonwealth. Today we were reminded that the Spirit of Virginia was present long before it was a Commonwealth. It is critical to emphasize the deep appreciation we hold for our cherished relationships and long history together.”
Gray said the relationship between Virginia and the tribes hasn’t always been good, but “we have a great relationship now.”
“We enjoy our tribal lands and that’s why we’re here paying tribute to the Commonwealth for what it has done for us and anything that we can do for the Commonwealth itself,” he said.
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