Proclamation Signing with Governor McDonnell and Virginia Chiefs

L to R: Rappahannock Cheif Anne Richardson, Nottoway of Va. Inc.Cheif Lynette Lewis Allston, Upper Mattaponi Assistant Cheif Frank Adams, Pamunkey Tribal Member Ashley Atkins, Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Cheif Walt Brown, Upper Mattaponi Cheif Kenneth Adams, Governor McDonnell, Mattaponi Cheif Carl Custalow, Patawomeck Cheif Robert Green, Monacan Cheif Sharon Bryant, Chickahominy Assistant Cheif Wayne Adkins

American Indian Heritage Month

WHEREAS, Virginia has long been home to thousands of American Indians, including the paramount chief Powhatan, who led many of the Virginia tribes when British settlers first arrived and settled at Jamestown in 1607; and

WHEREAS, following the arrival of the colonists, a working relationship of mutual cooperation between American Indians and the European colonists was forged early on and helped provide the stability, education, and security crucial to the founding of our great Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, there is no doubt that American Indians and indigenous peoples have worked continuously to enhance the freedom, prosperity, and greatness of our nation and our Commonwealth, and the citizens of the Commonwealth recognize and appreciate the enormous contribution that our American Indian communities have made in enhancing the quality of life for all Virginians; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly acknowledged and expressed its profound regret for the Commonwealth’s role in the historic wrongs visited upon native peoples, and in all other forms of discrimination and injustice, including dispossession of their lands and violations of solemn covenants and agreements, that have been rooted in racial and cultural bias and misunderstanding; and

WHEREAS, in recent decades Virginians have affirmed the founding ideals of liberty and equality by, among many other acts, formal legal recognition to the state’s Indian tribes, and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes eleven tribes – Mattaponi, Pamunkey, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi, Nansemond, Monacan, Cheroenhaka (Nottoway), Nottoway of Virginia, and Patawomeck; and

WHEREAS, American Indian Heritage Month provides the citizens of the Commonwealth with an excellent opportunity to learn more about the richness of the many traditions of the American Indian; and

WHEREAS, I encourage all Virginians to experience one of the many artistic, cultural, and educational activities that help mark this celebration of the wealth of the American Indian history; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize November 2012 as AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.