The James City County Board of Supervisors presented a proclamation declaring National Native American Day to Rappahannock tribe chief Anne Richardson in a ceremony Tuesday.
The day, which will be observed Nov. 23, recognizes the friendship between Native Americans and English settlers who established Jamestown in 1607, as well as the pivotal role the former played in ensuring the survival of the latter, James City Supervisor Sue Sadler said, adding the day will also recognize the heritage of the state’s seven federally recognized tribes, of which the Rappahannock are one.
“We acknowledge that on these shores, your people were the original gatekeepers,” Sadler said. “We are here today to acknowledge that without the goodwill of the indigenous population of Virginia, our history would have taken an entirely different course due to the adversity originally faced.”
Richardson, who is a descendant of Powhatan and Pocahontas, was present at the ceremony to accept the proclamation.
“I stand here in a place that was called Middle Plantation, where walls were erected to keep my people out, and today I’ve been welcomed in,” Richardson said, referring to the original name for the English settlement that would become Williamsburg.
“I bless your government and I bless the land of James City County,” Richardson said.
Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, firstname.lastname@example.org, @jajacobs_