The Mattaponi tribe is a state-recognized Indian tribe located on a 150-acre reservation that stretches along the borders of the Mattaponi River at West Point in King William County. Early in the twenty-first century the tribe included about 450 people, 75 of whom lived on the reservation.
What does Mattaponi mean? Mattaponi means “people of the river,” a fitting name considering how important the Mattaponi River is and has been for the tribe over the 15,000 years since settling on it. It’s been the “lifeblood of our tribe and an important part of our culture,” the tribe writes on its web site.
The Powhatan Confederacy were a group of Algonquian speaking tribes including Powhatan, Potomac, Chesapeake, Secacawoni, Chickahominy, Mattapony, Nandsemond, Weanoc, Pamunkey, and Mattapony.
They also relied on the hunters of the tribe for deer, opossum, wild turkey, and duck. Like some other native tribes, the Powhatan people used most parts of the animals that they killed.
Virginia has two state-recognized reservations, both located on tributaries of the York River. No Federal reservations for Native Americans have ever been created in Virginia, because no treaties were signed between Virginia’s tribes and the Federal government to end a war.
The Mattaponi were one of six tribes inherited by Chief Powhatan in the late 16th century. The tribe spoke an Algonquian language, like other members of the Powhatan Chiefdom.
Mattaponi River–(matta-po-NI) The name of a river and Indian tribe.
Born around 1596, Pocahontas was the daughter of Wahunsenaca (also known as Powhatan ), the powerful chief of the Powhatans, a Native American group that inhabited the Chesapeake Bay region. Little is known about her mother.
They inhabited the coastal tidewater of Virginia on the north side of the James River near Chesapeake Bay. The Pamunkey tribe is one of only two that still retain reservation lands assigned by the 1646 and 1677 treaties with the English colonial government.
Powhatan, confederacy of at least 30 Algonquian-speaking North American Indian tribes that once occupied most of what is now tidewater Virginia, the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, and possibly southern Maryland.
Despite all these odds, however, the Powhatan have survived. Today there are eight Powhatan Indian-descended tribes recognized by the State of Virginia. These tribes are still working to obtain Federal recognition. Another band called the Powhatan Renape to have official headquarters in New Jersey.
Treaty of 1646 In October 1646 the General Assembly of Virginia signed a peace treaty with Necotowance, King of the Indians, which brought the Third Anglo- Powhatan War to an end. In the treaty, the tribes of the Confederacy became tributaries to the King of England, paying a yearly tribute to the Virginia governor.
As of January 29, 2018, Virginia has seven federally recognized tribes: the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Nansemond and Monacan. The latter six gained recognition through passage of federal legislation in the 21st century.