Mattaponi Reservation

I decided to conduct my research on the Virginia Indians (Mattaponi Tribe) located on a native peoples reservation in West Point, Virginia. I have little knowledge about this group of people and would love to explore their relationship with the Williamsburg community and other groups outside of the reservation to determine the impacts of relocation and allocation of land. Below I have collected a substantial amount of information about Mattaponi history in the area in the recent and distant past. I hope to discover the state of Mattaponi ties with the surrounding area as well as local, state, and federal government institutions.



-provides a brief historical description of the Mattaponi and a relatively extensive description of the Mattaponi today; this cite also includes interactive videos and question and answer opportunities for those seeking more information on various tribes around Virginia




-this provides a few names that could lead to potential interviewees as well as current events at and around the reservation



-this provides a summary about the history of the Mattaponi tribe as well as a timeline of significant events in their history

-provides further academic resources listed below


4. Egloff, Keith, and Deborah Woodward. First People: The Early Indians of Virginia. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006.

-this provides historical context and present day information of the state and social conditions of Virginia Indians


5. Wood, Karenne, ed. The Virginia Indian Heritage Trail. Charlottesville: Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 2008.

-this work provides information about the various tribes in Virginia and guides to the sites current and past that these groups have occupied



-this is a facebook page (with various contacts) focused on the Baptist Church that caters to the Mattaponi Indian Reservartion in West Point, Virginia


7. Cook, Samuel R. “Anthropological advocacy in historical perspective: The case of anthropologists and Virginia Indians.” Human organization 62.2 (2003): 193-201.

–       “In examining the demographic and political context in which anthropologists working with Virginia Indians have historically practiced their profession, it becomes clear that socially constructed boundaries, such as the state, can have a profound impact not only on the lives, histories, and realities of the indigenous peoples living within these limits, but on the professional conduct of anthropologists as well.”


8. Bara, Rachel. “Drowned Boy, and: Mattaponi Queen: Stories (review).” Prairie Schooner 86.1 (2012): 172-175.

–       “They explore their chosen regions through the fantasies, regrets, and actions of the people who live there. At the same time, through a careful ordering of stories and some overlapping characters, both Gabriel’s Drowned Boy and Boggs’s Mattaponi Queen: Stories acquire some of the scope of novels.”


9. County, Chickahominy-Charles City, et al. “State and Federal Recognition of Native American Tribes in Virginia.”

-this provides information on state and federal legal interaction with the Mattaponi including recognition and land grants


10. Forbes, Jack D. “Blood quantum: A relic of racism and termination.” The People’s Voice (2000): 1-2.

-this source focuses on apparent racism faced by Native peoples as well as the way these racist sentiments tie into the racist structures that prevailed in American history


11. United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indian Affairs (1993- ). Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act: Hearing Before the Committee On Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session On S. 2694, to Extend Federal Recognition to the Chickahominy Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc., the Monacan Tribe, and the Nansemond Tribe, October 9, 2002, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 2003.

-this is a Senate hearing concerning Native Virginia tribes legal recognition

2 Responses to “Mattaponi Reservation”

  1. 1 mal2013 February 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Certainly the recent history and present life of Virginia Indians is an under-researched topic (although see the WDP practice oral history interview conducted with Ashley Atkins, a doctoral candidate in anthropology and a member of the Pamunkey nation). I would focus your research on the relationship between the Mattaponi reservation and Williamsburg. Depending on the availability of information, you might have to broaden your scope to consider the relationship between Virginia Indians (including Pamunkey and the tribes listed in your reference #11). The next step will be to develop a particular question or set of questions that will focus your research.

    Note that much of the information contained in the second link you provided is out of date by a couple of years at least.

    Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, who directs the American Indian Resource Center in the Department of Anthropology, will be a valuable resource.

  2. 2 Kate Previti February 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    My apologies for not sending you the email address for Danielle Moretti-Langholtz after our meeting so I’m emailing that to you now! When I took her course, our focus was on helping to overhaul the Pamunkey Museum on their reservation, and I think Ashley Atkins is now the curator of it. I will look through my notebook from the class to see if there is anything of general relevance to this topic.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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