Saturday, June 4, 2011

15th Annual Mattaponi Pow Wow

During the Memorial Weekend, I went to the Mattaponi Indian Pow Wow in King William County, Virginia.  The tribe was one of the six under Chief Powhatan, father of the famous Pocahontas, who married one of the Captain John Smith's officers.  The latter founded Jamestown, the first English colony near present Williamsburg.

The event started with a parade followed by a speech by the Chief, drumming, dances and exhibits regarding the Mattaponi culture.  This is the first Native American celebration that I have attended.  Their friendship and well as their food was outstanding.  I had the best "corn on the cob" ever!!!

I found photographing the event challenging.  There was a circle within which all the events took place, providing a difficult background.  Nevertheless, the images of the dancers and their attires were captured with beautiful vivid colors.

The Mattaponi have a long history of struggle in preserving their culture and lands from the English colonials as well as the Americans after the War of Independence.  During their various treaties, they were attacked during the Bacon Rebellion and the Iroquois wars.

Their official recognition as a tribe as well as ownership of their lands has been challenged since the arrival of the British but they were able to preserve them.  Thomas Jefferson defended their lands from encroachment while he was governor of Virginia.  The tribe has been recognized by the government of Virginia and has their own government.

The name of the tribe comes from the Mattaponi River, whose name was derived from the confluence of the Ma, Ta, Po and Ni rivers.  It flows into the York River. For a more regarding the Pow Wows, go to: