The Middle Plantation Treaty of 1677
Between Virginia's Indian Head Chiefs and Charles II (The King of Great Britain, France and Ireland)
With the several Indian Kings and Queens and Assignors and Subscribers hereunto made and Concluded at the
Camp of Middle plantation, the 29th day 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 Majesties Reign.
By the Right Honorable Herbert Jeffreys Esquire Governor and Capt. General of his Majesties Colony of Virginia;
Present the Honorable Sir John Berry, Knight and Francis Morrrison, Esquire his most Sacred Majesties
Commissioners appointed under the great Seale of England for the Virginia affairs, And the Honorable Council of
State of the said Colony.
Whereas his most Sacred Mantle hath of his own Royal grace and mere motion entrusted to my care and endeavors
the Renewing management and concluding a good peace with the Neighbor Indians in order whereunto with the
advice and Assistance of the honorable Sir John Berry, Knight and Francis Morrison, Esquire I have here caused to
be drawn up these ensuing Articles and Overtures for the firm grounding and sure establishment of a good and just
Peace with the said Indians, and that it my be a Secure and homing one founded upon the strong Pillars of
Reciprocal Justice by confirming to them their just Rights and by Redress of their wrongs and injuries that so the
great God who is god of peace and Lover of Justice may uphold and prosper this out mutual League and Amity. It is
hereby Concluded, consented to and mutually agreed as follows:
[The following is an abbreviation of the 22 agreements between the Indians and the English]
I. That the respective Indian kings and queens acknowledge their immediate dependency on and their subjugation to
the great King of England, his heirs and successors when they pay tribute to the governor for the time being.
II. That the said kings and queens and their subjects shall hold their land and property by patent under the seal of
his majesties colony, without any fee gratuity or reward for the same in the manner of his majesty’s subjects, and
paying yearly, three arrows for the same.
III. That all in agreement with us (the English) the Indians shall have sufficient land on which to plant and shall never
have this land taken from them or disturbed therein so long as they maintain obedience and subjugation to his
majesty, his governor and government and remain in friendship to the English.
IV. The mutual discontentment, complaints, jealousies between the English and Indians caused by violent intrusions
of various English into their lands, forcing the Indians to seek revenge by killing English cattle and hogs, whereby
both sides offended and injured each other and caused the peace to be broken. The late unhappy rebellion caused
so much ruin and misery, that there must be as much as possible the prevention of injuries and evil consequences.
So we conclude and enact that no English shall seat or plant within three miles of any Indian town. Anyone who
encroaches on Indian lands shall be removed, and proceedings shall be brought against them by the Governor and
the laws enacted by the Assembly.
V. That the said Indians shall be protected, their persons and goods defended from injuries by the English. The
aggrieved Indians should first address themselves to the governor without rashly taking hostile action themselves.
VI. That no Indian king or queen shall be imprisoned without a special warrant from his majesty’s governor and two of
the Council. That no other Indian shall be imprisoned without a warrant from a Justice of the Peace and without
sufficient cause of commitment.
VII. That the said Indians have and enjoy the convenience of oystering, fishing and gathering Tuckahoe, wild oats,
rushes, pecans, or anything else for their natural support that is not useful to the English or from which the English
obtain revenues. For any lawful occasion, to always obtain a certificate from a magistrate, to return the certificate
when they are through with their business, to then go directly home, not to wear or carry any weapon during the
conducting of business, or not to lodge in any Englishman’s house at night.
VIII. That no foreign Indian comes to an Englishman’s plantation without a friendly neighborhood Indian in his
company and without the previously mentioned certificate. And that no Indian king refuses to send a safe conduct
with the foreigner upon the lawful occasion. And that no Indian paint or disguise themselves when they come in.
IX. That all Indian Kings and Queens tributary to the English having notice of any march of strange Indians near the
English quarters or plantations do forthwith repair to some of the next officers of the militia and acquaint him of their
nation, number and design and which way they bend their Course.
X. That if necessary a convenient party be presently sent out by the next Militia to aide and strengthen and join with
Friendly Indians against any foreign attempt, incursion, or depredation upon the Indian town.
XI. That every Indian fit to bare arms of the neighboring Nations in peace with us, have such quantity of powder and
shot allotted him as Right Honorable the Governor shall think fit on any occasion, and that such members of them be
ready to go out with our forces upon any march against the enemy and to Receive such pay for their good services,
as shall be thought fit.
XII. That each Indian King and Queen have equal power to govern their own people, except the Queen of Pamunkey
to whom several scattered Indians do now again own their ancient Subjection and are agreed to come in and plant
themselves under power and government who with her are also hereby included in this present League and treaty of
peace and are to keep and observe the same towards the said Queen in all things as her subjects as well as towards
XIII. That no person whatever shall entertain or keep any Neighbor Indian as Servant or otherwise, but by license of
ye Governor and to be upon the obligation answerable for all injuries and damages by him of them happen to be
done on any English.
XIV. That no English harbor or entertain any vagrant or Runaway Indian, but convey him home by way of pass from
Justice to Justice to his own town under penalty of paying so much per day for harboring him as by the Law for
entertaining Runaways is Recoverable.
XV. That no Indian of those in Amity with us shall serve for any longer time than English of the like Ages should serve
by act of Assembly, and shall not be sold as Slaves.
XVI. That every King and Queen in the month of March every year with some of their great men tender their
obedience to the Right Honorable his Majesties Governor at the place of his residence, whenever it shall be, and
then and there pay the accustomed rent of twenty beaver skins, to the Governor and also their quit rent aforesaid, in
acknowledgement that they hold the Crowns, and Lands of the great King of England.
XVII. That due care be had and taken that those Indian Kings and Queens their great men and attendants that come
on any public business to the Right Honorable Governor Council of Assembly may be accommodated with provisions
and houseroom at the public charge. And that no English Subject shall abuse, revile, hurt or wrong them at any time
in word or deed.
XVIII. That upon discord or breach of Peace happening to arise between any of the Indians in amity with the English
upon the first appearance and beginning thereof, and before they open Acts of hostility or war one against another
they shall repair to his Majesties Governor by whose justice and wisdom it is concluded such difference shall be
made upon and decided, and to whose final determination the said Indian shall Submit and conform themselves.
XIX. That for preventing the frequent mischiefs and mistakes occasioned by unfaithful and corrupt interpreters , and
for more Safety satisfaction, and advantage both of the Indians and the English, that there be one of each nation of
our neighboring Indians, that that already can or become capable of speaking English, admitted together with those
of ye English to their own interpreters.
XX. That the several Indians concluded in this peace forthwith restore to the Respective English parents and owners,
all such children servants, and horses, which at any time taken from them, and now remaining with them ye said
Indians, or which they can make discovery of.
XXI. That the trade with the said Indians be continued, limited, restrained, or laid open, as shall make best for ye
peace and quiet in the Country, upon which affair the Governor will consult with the Council and Assembly, and
conclude thereon at their next meeting.
XXII. That it is further agreed that all Indians and English in the Province of Maryland are included in these Articles of
peace, And that neither party shall offend the other without breach of his Majesties peace.
THE RACIAL INTEGRITY ACT OF 1924
Copyrighted 2007 by Auld/Powhatan
The following documents provide an insight into the history of the Powhatan Confederacy tribes' cultural
survival in historic Virginia Territory, which includes the present day states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina,
and Washington, D.C.
There have been annual treaty ceremonies in Virginia between the chiefs of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey
(reservation tribes) and the governor of Virginia (who was once the King of England's official representative in
Virginia) since 1646. Although the original treaty signing was observed by a ceremony conducted in the month
of March, the current ceremony is held during "Thanksgiving Week" in November. The Middle Plantation Treaty
of 1677 is representative of a universal treaty format commonly used between indigenous populations and
European colonial powers. A Maori from New Zealand, upon reading the treaty, was struck by its familiarity.
Virginia's Indians continued to struggle for survival into the 20th century. In 1924, the General Assembly of
Virginia directed the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to lay the foundation for a more systematic process of
"document genocide" practiced against Indians residing in the state. The brutal enforcement of the "Racial
Integrity Act of 1924" enabled state officials to destroy Virginia Indians' records and reclassify them and their
descendants as "colored", and later, "black". If you called yourself "Indian", you could be imprisoned, denied the
right to go to public schools, refused employment, forbidden to obtain a marriage certificate, or barred from
having your newborn child released from the hospital to go home. Other states adopted this heinous practice.
Even today, in the 21st century, descendants of indigenous Virginia Indians born in Washington, D.C., Maryland
and Virginia have been denied the right to be recorded as "Indian" on birth, death and marriage certificates. This
legacy of racism continues to have a negative impact on federal and state recognition of Indian communities
that have survived despite "document genocide". The following "Act to Preserve Racial Integrity" reveals how
"document genocide" promoted racism.
1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia, That the State Registrar of Vital Statistics may as soon as
practicable after the taking effect of this act, prepare a form whereon the racial composition of any individual, as
Caucasian, negro, Mongolian, American Indian, Asiatic Indian, Malay, or any mixture thereof, or any other
non-Caucasic strains, and if there be any mixture, then the racial composition of the parents and other
ancestors, in so far as ascertainable, so as to show in what generation such mixture occurred, may be certified
by such individual, which form shall be known as a registration certificate. The State Registrar may supply to
each local registrar a sufficient number of such forms for the purpose of this act; each local registrar may
personally or by deputy, as soon as possible after receiving said forms, have made thereon in duplicate a
certificate of the racial composition as aforesaid, of each person resident in his district, who so desires, born
before June fourteenth, nineteen hundred and twelve, which certificate shall be made over the signature of said
person, or in the case of children under fourteen years of age, over the signature of a parent, guardian, or other
person standing in loco parentis. One of said certificates for each person thus registering in every district shall
be forwarded to the State Registrar for his files; the other shall be kept on file by the local registrar.
Every local registrar may, as soon as practicable, have such registration certificate made by or for each person
in his district who so desires, born before June fourteen, nineteen hundred and twelve, for whom he has not on
file a registration certificate, or a birth certificate.
2. It shall be a felony for any person wilfully or knowingly to make a registration certificate false as to color or
race. The wilful making of a false registration or birth certificate shall be punished by confinement in the
penitentiary for one year.
3. For each registration certificate properly made and returned to the State Registrar, the local registrar
returning the same shall be entitled to a fee of twenty-five cents, to be paid by the registrant. Application for
registration and for transcript may be made direct to the State Registrar, who may retain the fee for expenses of
4. No marriage license shall be granted until the clerk or deputy clerk has reasonable assurance that the
statements as to color of both man and woman are correct.
If there is reasonable cause to disbelieve that applicants are of pure white race, when that fact is stated, the
clerk or deputy clerk shall withhold the granting of the license until satisfactory proof is produced that both
applicants are "white persons" as provided for in this act.
The clerk or deputy clerk shall use the same care to assure himself that both applicants are colored, when that
fact is claimed.
5. It shall hereafter be unlawful for any white person in this State to marry any save a white person, or a person
with no other admixture of blood than white and American Indian. For the purpose of this act, the term "white
person" shall apply only to the person who has no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian; but
persons who have one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian and have no other non-Caucasic
blood shall be deemed to be white persons. All laws heretofore passed and now in effect regarding the
intermarriage of white and colored persons shall apply to marriages prohibited by this act.
6. For carrying out the purposes of this act and to provide the necessary clerical assistance, postage and other
expenses of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, twenty per cent of the fees received by local registrars under
this act shall be paid to the State Bureau of Vital Statistics, which may be expended by the said bureau for the
purposes of this act.
7. All acts or parts of acts inconsistent with this act are, to the extent of such inconsistency, hereby repealed.
(Please note that 5. is sometimes referred to as the "Pocahontas Clause", since many prominent white Virginia
families are proud to claim "the Indian Princess" as an ancestor.)
of Indigenous Arts and Culture
The Signe of the Queen of Pomunkey on behalf of
herself & the severall Indians under her Subjection.
The Signe of the King of the Nottowayes.
The Signe of Capt. John West, sonne of the Queen
The Signe of Peracuta, King of Appomattux.
The Signe of the Queen of Wayanoake.
The Signe of the King of the Nanzomond Indians.
The marke of Pattanochus, King of Nansaticoen.
The Signe of Shurenough, King of the Manakina.
The Signe of Mastegone, young King of the
The Signe of Tachapoake, Chiefe man of the
The Signe of Tachapoake, Chief man of the
The signe of Norehannah, next Chiefe man
of the Meherians.