Virginia Indians Today
The Mattaponi Indian Reservation was created from land long held by the Tribe by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1658. Being one of the oldest reservations in the country, the Tribe traces its history back to the Great Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, who ruled most of Tidewater Virginia when Europeans arrived in 1607. The story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith begins here. The members of this tribe live on a reservation that stretches along the borders of the Mattaponi River in King William County. Presently they number about 75. The Mattaponi Indian Reservation dates back to 1658. In those early days, the people made their living completely from nature's resources. Before the first settlers reached this land, these Indians worshipped the Great Spirit, who was their God in the heavens above the sun, the moon and the stars. Now they worship as Southern Baptists, and have their own church on the Mattaponi Reservation. In 1646 the Mattaponi began paying tribute to an early Virginia governor. This practice continues to the present day, as on the fourth Wednesday of November the tribe presents game or fish to the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.