A Student of History

July 12, 2006

Jamestown 400

Filed under: Historic Places,The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 12:00 pm

Expanding JamestownSounds like an auto race!

Seriously:  As Jamestown nears its 400th birthday, more and more will be forthcoming from the state of virginia and historians about the history of this event, and activities designed to bring the attention of the public to it.  In the Richmond Times-Dispatch, one finds an article in this genre entitled “Va. Indians will journey to England: Tribes to discuss their past from Jamestown in the 1600s to today.”

In the English city where Pocahontas died nearly 400 years ago, Virginia Indians will show this week that their culture is still very much alive.”We want to let folks know that we’re not some museum pieces,” said Stephen Adkins, chief of the Chickahominy tribe and a leader of a 54-member delegation representing the state’s eight recognized tribes. “We’re alive and vibrant.”

The Indian group is scheduled to fly to England on Wednesday for a week of cultural demonstrations, scholarly discussions and ceremonies centered in the Kent County town of Gravesend. The event is linked to next year’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

Gravesend, on the Thames River southeast of London, is where the Indian princess Pocahontas died in 1617 and was buried after beginning her return voyage from a visit to England as wife of Jamestown settler John Rolfe.  Government officials in Kent have led efforts to hold Jamestown commemorative events in England, and have raised private donations covering most of the estimated $160,000 cost of the Indian visit.

“We thought it would be a good idea, given the Pocahontas connections, and it grew from there,” said Alex King, deputy leader of the Kent County Council and chairman of the Jamestown UK Foundation. “It’s really quite a special event.” The visit was originally planned as an add-on to the Virginia Indian arts-and-crafts festival to be held as part of an annual Gravesend event known as Big Day Out. But discussions between the British Jamestown committee, the federal Jamestown commission in Williamsburg and the Indians led to a more ambitious agenda.


It will be interesting to see if the English will be interested in this event, as we will be here in the states.


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