Tribe events aim to educate

Published 9:42 pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Nansemond Indian Tribe will host a series of events at its Mattanock Town project site each Saturday this month to educate the community on the tribe’s historic culture.

It’s also getting a jump on the educational programs it will be doing once the site is fully developed, Assistant Chief Earl Bass said this week.

“What we wanted to do was tell people we’re here,” he said. “We’re eager to get started with our programs.”


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The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the tribe’s property at the end of Pembroke Lane, which runs off Godwin Boulevard directly across from Oakland Elementary School.

“Some of the things we’re going to be doing is showing how our ancestors used bows and arrows, flint-knapping (manufacturing stone tools), how our ancestors ate and how the chiefs lived,” Bass said. “We’re going to have some of the same things and some different things each week.”

Tribe members will also demonstrate how clothing was made out of buckskin and discuss how the tribe hunted, gathered and grew food, how things changed in the village from season to season, housing in the 1600s, wild field plants and how the tribe used them, and how the finished Mattanock Town will look.

The finished development will be “a living village where things will change from season to season,” Bass said. “People will see different things every time they come.”

Many of those leading the demonstrations this month will be tribe members who still practice their crafts.

“Some of our tribal members do things now that our ancestors did,” Bass said. “We’re tapping their knowledge of what they do today.”

Dr. Helen Rountree, who has extensively researched the Indians of southeastern Virginia, also will help with the demonstrations.

“Whenever you lose a lot of your heritage over the years, you’ve got to regain it,” Bass said.

He encouraged people to come out to the events.

“We just encourage them to come out and start sharing the experience of Mattanock Town now,” Bass said. “We’re ready to start sharing that experience with the public.”