Indian tribes received inaugural state grants to help keep their history alive – Daily Press


The Rappahannock and Chickahominy Indian Tribes are two of the first 12 recipients to receive grants from the Commonwealth History Fund at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

The grants are funded by donations from Dominion Energy in partnership with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The Commonwealth History Fund was established to provide grants annually to history organizations and projects throughout the state of Virginia.

The Rappahannock Tribe, located in Indian Neck, received $65,000 to support the preservation of Chief Otho S. and Susie P. Nelson’s home in Indian Neck.

The chief’s house served as the headquarters of the Rappahannock tribe. From there, the tribe launched efforts to gain state and federal recognition, fought Virginia’s Racial Identity Act of 1924 denying Indian identity, ran a school and an apothecary Indians and launched a cultural revitalization program that continues today, according to a press release. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019 and has significant significance to Indigenous communities in Virginia and eastern North America.

The Rappahannock Tribe acquired the Chief’s House in 1999 to rehabilitate it and develop public history and education programs for tribal citizens and communities throughout the state. Once rehabilitated, the house will provide opportunities for economic development as a vehicle to educate tribal citizens and the public in traditional agricultural and healing practices.

“We are incredibly honored to be one of 12 projects chosen by the Commonwealth History Fund for its inaugural grant cycle,” Rappahannock chief Anne Richardson said in a statement. “With this incredible opportunity, we will be able to give back to our communities by implementing a project that will help us continue to tell Virginia’s story and have a lasting impact on future generations.”

The $65,000 grant awarded to the Chickahominy Tribelocated in Providence Forge, will fund planning for a language revitalization program to strengthen the Chickahominy community and the connection of the greater Powhatan Algonquin community to and through language, according to the museum.

Organizations carrying out significant projects that have a community impact and focus on historically underrepresented topics and communities have been prioritized for Commonwealth History Fund grant selection. The need for funding and the urgency of the project were also taken into account in the selection of prizes. About 60 groups from across the state submitted proposals.

“As the state history museum, we are committed to doing all we can to safeguard and share our collective history,” museum president and CEO Jamie Bosket said in a statement. Press. “Through this new endowment fund, we will be able to do more on behalf of the entire Commonwealth through direct financial support of history-related work taking place in Virginia communities now and for many years to come. .”

This year, $402,500 was awarded to 12 organizations and VMHC expects to give nearly $2 million over the first five years.

The Let Freedom Ring Foundation in Williamsburg and the Fairfield Foundation in Gloucester County has also received grants from the Commonwealth History Fund. VMHC will be accepting funding applications for its second annual grant cycle October 1-31.

Kim O’Brien Root, [email protected]


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