Annual Treaty Ceremony
1987: (L) Deligation of Virginia Indians
led by the late chief William P. Miles in
traditional head gear (far right).
(R) Governor Ger-ald Baliles with Chief
Miles and Virginia Indians from the
Pamunkey and Mattaponi
Reservations of King William County,
1987 Attendees, Pamunkey potters. 1987: Pamunkey boys. (Center) Kiros Auld
(L) Daisy Collins Bradby & (R) Dora Cook Bradby
Copyrighted 2007 by Auld/Powhatan
of Indigenous Arts and Culture
The annual Treaty Ceremony takes place at the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Virginia during the week before
Thanksgiving. The U.S. Governor of Virginia inherited some of the responsibilities of England's Colonial Government
in their Virginia territory. Today's ceremony represents the more than 350 year old observance of the original signing
of the 1677 treaty between Cockacoeske, the Queen of Pamunkey, various Indian leaders from Virginia, Maryland and
North Carolina, and King Charles II of England. King Charles was represented by the "Governor and the Council of our
Colony and Plantation of Virginia in The West Indies". (Today, the term "West Indies" is only applied to the Caribbean
territories). The first ceremony took place at Middle Plantation and included members of the Algonquian-speaking
Powhatan Confederacy of today's Virginia as well as Siouan speakers of both Virginia and North Carolina. The
introduction to the document read as follows:
"Articles of Peace between the most Mighty Prince and our Dread Sovereign Lord Charles the II by the Grace of God
King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland. Defender of the faith and the several Indian Kings and Queens and
Assentors and Subscribers hereunto made and concluded at the Camp of Middle Plantation, the 29th day of May,
1677; being the day of the most happy birth and restoration of our said Sovereign Lord, and in the XXIX year of his
said Majesty's reign. By the Right Honourable Herbert Jeffreys, Esq., Governor and Captain General of his Majesty's
Colony of Virginia: Present the Honorable Sir John Berry, Knight and Francis Morrison, Esq. his most Sacred
Majesty's commissioners appointed under the great Seal of England for the Virginia affairs, and the Honorable
Councill of State of the said Colony."
The Native American signatories of the treaty were:
- Cockacoeske, Pamunkey Queen on behalf of herself, and the several Indians under her subjection. (She was
the daughter of Powhatan's brother, Opechancanough and widow of her cousin Totopotomoi, the grandson of
one of Powhatan's sisters. She had inherited her late husband's position.)
- King of the Nottowayes.
- Captain John West, son of the Queen of Pamunkey (and the son of Colonel John West, for whose family the
town of West Point, Virginia was named).
- Peracuta, King of the Appomattux.
- Queen of Wayonaoake.
- King of the Nanzemod.
- Pattanochus, King of the Nansatiocoes, Nanzemunds, & Portabacchoes.
- Shurenough, King of the Monakins. (A Siouxan tribe in Virginia's Allegheny Mountains).
- Mastegonoe, young King of the Sappones. (A Siouan tribe now in North Carolina).
- Tachapoake, Chief man of the Sappones.
- Vnuntsquero, Chiefe man of the Maherians. (A Siouan tribe in North Carolina).
- Horehonnah, next Chief man of the Maherians.
Each year when the geese fly.....................Indians.................go on a journey....across the water...to the Governor of Virginia.
There they meet...................and agree................to smoke the pipe...........give firs and.............and remain at peace.
of peace other game
describing the annual
Women on the
this story on
traditional pots and
plates made from clay
from the Pamunkey
1994: (L) Governor Douglas Wilder in front of Pamunkey
chief Billy Miles, the former late chief Tecumseh Cook and
late chief Webster Custalow of the Mattaponi Reservation.
(Above) Cook and Custalow perform a dance near wild