RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam participated in a centuries-old tradition Wednesday outside the Executive Mansion in Richmond when members of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe presented him wild game and hand-crafted gifts.
The gifts are a symbolic tax to commemorate the 1677 signing of the Treaty of Middle Plantation.
The tribes pay the tax "in return for continued possession of their tribal lands," according to the governor's office.
“Virginia’s native people enrich our Commonwealth with their vibrant heritage, traditions, and continuing contributions,” Governor Northam said in an emailed statement. “Native American Heritage Month is a celebration of the resilience of our tribal communities, and an opportunity to reflect on how we can better address the unique challenges they face and recommit to cultivating strong government-to-government relations with Virginia’s Indian tribes. Even during these difficult and uncertain times, let us remember that our diverse backgrounds only strengthen the Commonwealth we love.”
There are 11 state-recognized Indian tribes in Virginia:
- Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe
- Chickahominy Indian Tribe
- Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division
- Mattaponi Indian Tribe
- Monacan Indian Nation
- Nansemond Indian Tribe
- Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia
- Pamunkey Indian Tribe
- Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia
- Rappahannock Tribe
- The Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe