The Chickahominy Indian Tribe was among those which witnessed the coming of the colonists in 1607. At that time the Chickahominy lived in villages along the Chickahominy River from the James River to the middle of the current county of New Kent. The tribe, governed by a council of elders, was considered an ally of Powhatan and his paramount chiefdom. The Treaty of 1614 between the Chickahominy and the colonists provided that the Chickahominy would supply 300-400 bowmen to fight the Spanish if necessary.
When the Indians were sent by the English colonists to "Pamunkey Neck" in what is now King William County, the Chickahominy joined the other tribes. After 1718, the Indians were forced off that land, and over the next century, the tribal families migrated back to their ancestral land in Charles City and New Kent counties. In 1900, the tribal government was reorganized, and is now led by a chief, two assistant chiefs, and a tribal council of both men and women.
Today this tribe has approximately 750 Chickahominy people living within a five-mile radius of the tribal center in Charles City County, and several hundred more living in other parts of the United States. Its 25,000-acre enclave includes a tract on state Route 602 that holds the Samaria Baptist Church, the former Samaria Indian school that has been remodeled and is now part of the Church, and a tribal center for meetings and recreation. The tribe hosts an annual fall festival in late September, as well as several other public events. Politically active, the tribe has placed members on the county school board, the planning commission, and in local government offices. The tribe was recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1983.
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