Virginia to observe first Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The first such proclamation in Virginia history
Gov. Ralph Northam holding a press briefing in Richmond.
Gov. Ralph Northam holding a press briefing in Richmond.(VPM)
Updated: Oct. 12, 2020 at 6:59 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam declared Oct. 12 as Indigenous Peoples' Day in the state of Virginia.

The Oct. 9 proclamation was the first in Virginia’s history.

Virginia is home to 11 state-recognized Indian tribes:

  • 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
  • Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe

Seven of these tribes are federally recognized.

“Indigenous Peoples' Day celebrates the resilience of our tribal communities and promotes reconciliation, healing, and continued friendship with Virginia’s Indian tribes. In making this proclamation, we pay tribute to the culture, history, and many contributions of Virginia Indians and recommit to cultivating strong government-to-government partnerships that are grounded in mutual trust and respect," Governor Northam said in a video message.

Last year, Governor Northam announced a land acquisition by the Chickahominy Tribe and signed a land trust agreement with the Mattaponi Indian Tribe, two significant actions in rectifying the past when the Commonwealth allowed their reservation land to be encroached upon and ensuring the sustainability of Virginia’s Indian tribes for future generations.

Later this month, Virginia will open Machicomoco State Park, the Commonwealth’s 40th state park and the first devoted to interpreting the experiences and history of Virginia’s Indian tribes and the Algonquin nation.

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