Note: The following information is taken with permission from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources Web pages entitled, "First People: The Early Indians of Virginia" at http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/arch_NET/timeline/time_line.htm. The information from the Web pages is taken from the book First People: The Early Indians of Virginia, produced by the Department of Historic Resources, and published by the University Press of Virginia.
In the early 1700s, relations between the Indians and the English were tense. Cultural differences were a major cause of the tension between the two groups of people. The Indians felt the English and their alien culture had been forced against them for almost 100 years. The once mighty Powhatan paramount chiefdom was reduced to a tributary status, being required to make yearly payments to the colonial government as a sign of dependence. They also lost all lands between the York and Blackwater Rivers. In 1677, another treaty with the English had been signed. The Indians along the coast lost their remaining land and were confined to small reservations. By 1722, there were no longer records of many of the tribes previously noted, although their people still lived together in one or more enclaves. The Rappahannock tribe lost its reservation shortly after 1700; the Chickahominy lost theirs in 1718. These tribes and the Nansemond, who sold their reservation in 1792, faded from public view. Only the Pamunkey, Mattaponi, and an Eastern Shore, known as the Gingaskin, formerly known as the Accomac group kept reservations.
The practice of Algonquian spiritual traditions eroded, partly because of earlier English attempts to remove the priests and other keepers of traditional ways. Over decades of interaction with the dominant culture, more of the Virginia Indians identified themselves as Christians and spoke English. The indigeneous people still raised crops, hunted, and fished. Cash crops, like cotton, were added, and livestock, such as chickens, cows, and hogs, became commonplace. Log and plank houses replaced the bark and mat-covered oval houses, and traded iron implements quickly replaced stone tools. However, the native ceramic technology of vessels and pipes remained vibrant, adapting to European shapes and functions.
Probably around 1716, the Saponi, Totero, and Occaneechi left North Carolina for Fort Christanna in Brunswick County, Virginia, in a move to maintain closer trade relations with colonists. Governor Spotswood directed that a school be built for the Indian children and a trading center be established. The Indians' presence there provided a barrier between hostile Tuscaroa in North Carolina and the Virginia settlements. In 1722, a general peace was made between the Iroquois and the Virginia and Carolina Indians. Around 1740, many of the Saponi, Totero, and Occaneechi moved north into Pennsylvania.
The early colonial times were turbulent for the Indians of the Shenandoah Valley. In only a few generations, the Shawnees were forced out by the Susquehannock who wanted to control the area's European fur trade. By the time enough Europeans came to set up their own town, Indians in southwestern Virginia had become adept at avoiding interaction with them. The only natives sighted by Europenas were hunting and trading groups of Cherokee and Shawnee passing through.
Thomas Walker, a physician who became a surveyor for the Royal Land Company, saw no Indians in his 1750 expedition through southwestern Virginia. Twice, however, he came across Indian tracks on the trail. When he reached Long Island in the Holston River at Kingsport, Tennessee, he described an abandoned town site that may have been Cherokee: "In the Fork between the Holston's and the North River, are five Indian Houses built with logs and covered with bark, and there were an abundance of Bones, some whole Pots and Pans, some broken and many pieces of mats and Cloth."
By 1790 only four Algonquian reservations (Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Nansemond, and Gingaskin) and an Iroquoian one (Nottoway) were left. Some of the tribes that lost reservations went on living together nearby, becoming ancestors of the modern "citizen" tribes (Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock). In the piedmont, the Siouan tribes saw the handwriting on the wall and withdrew southward, sometimes returning and then leaving again. Non-Indians poured freely into their territory. The population of all of these groups was too small to maintain their languages, even on the reservations. The native tongues were rarely heard by 1800, with only the Siouan Tutelo having been directly recorded.
By the latter part of the 17th century, some individuals or smaller groups of Indians began trade networks of their own. Changes in the colonial settlement patterns as more people migrated throughout the region and managed to adapt and survive in their new environment increased the potential for direct contact. Population growth in European settlements spread colonists throughout an ever-increasing portion of the region. Colonists were no longer living primarily in tightly bounded settlements, where contact with the local Indians could be monitored and, when unsanctioned, could be punished. Instead, they were living further and further away from formal settlements, where informal contact with Indian neighbors became a part of life, and social and economic exchange at the individual level became more common.