Monacan Indian Nation Leaders To Discuss Collaborative History
During Public Discussion Oct. 23
October 17, 2003 --
A University of Virginia anthropologist and four leaders
of the Monacan Indian Nation will discuss ways that the university
the tribe can work together to accurately and fully tell the history
of the Monacan people.
discussion, open to the public, will be held Thursday, Oct. 23,
p.m. in the Dome Room at U.Va.’s Rotunda.
include U.Va. anthropology professor Jeff Hantman, Monacan Chief
Kenneth Branham, and Monacan leaders
Karenne Wood, Daniel Red Elk Gear and
open discussion is a first step toward creating a full relationship
between the university and the tribe,” Hantman said. “We’ve
been collaborating on telling the Monacan story for several years now through
our joint archeological
work, but we are interested in exploring new ways to work together to advance
understanding of Monacan life and history.”
noted that the Grounds of the University of Virginia are located
on ancestral Monacan
land, as are many important landmarks of American
history in western
and central Virginia, such as Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
The Monacans once inhabited all of Virginia between the fall line at
to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
need to write Monacan history into its rightful place in the
history of this region,” Hantman said.
are more than 1,400 members of the Monacan Indian Nation, which
as a tribe by the Commonwealth of Virginia, but has not
recognition. The tribe is headquartered on ancestral lands in Amherst
County and its members are actively seeking to restore their traditional
rituals and language, which were suppressed after hostilities
with European colonists. U.Va. archeologists and
the Monacan people
are excavating and reconstructing ancient Monacan sites.
are working with the scientific community in ways that are beneficial
to the tribe and the university,” said Wood, who is a Monacan leader
and repatriation coordinator with the Association on American Indian Affairs. “We
want to express the whole of Monacan culture and to reconstruct aspects that
year the university joined a major telescope consortium in Arizona
located at a site considered sacred to the Apache peoples
area. To show respect
for native peoples who were opposed to the university’s desire
to join the telescope project, U.Va. agreed to develop an outreach
collaboration in Arizona
with the San Carlos Indian nations and two partner institutions—the
University of Arizona and the University of Minnesota. The University
of Virginia also resolved
to build collaborative relationships with Virginia Indian nations.
The University began conversations with Virginia tribes last spring
and the panel discussion
is one of several projects which started to take shape last spring.
of our goals is to increase awareness of Native American issues
and cultures on Grounds,” said Gene D. Block, vice president
and provost. “This
event helps us make progress toward that goal. We are deeply
grateful to the leaders of the Monacan Nation for accepting our invitation
to speak with us.”
Oct. 23 discussion is part of U.Va.’s
free public lecture series, Engaging the Mind. The series is
coordinated by U.Va.’s Office of the Vice President
and Provost and sponsored by Virginia National Bank. This academic
outreach program hosts University of Virginia faculty members
in communities across the state.
The series creates opportunities for the university’s
top scholars and teachers to engage with the citizens of Virginia
and to extend the intellectual
life of a nationally ranked research university.
Fariss Samarrai, (434) 924-3778