Visitors to the site are encouraged to send in nominations for inclusion to the following select list.
Please provide supporting information and a photograph for each nominee.
* Image and biography on this site.
- Powhatan I *
- Wahunsenacawh, or Powhatan II *
- Cockacoeske *
- David Mills *
- Bernie Boston*
- Phoebe Mills Farris
- Wayne Newton *
- Spider Woman Theatre
- Langston Hughes *
- John Mercer Langston *
- Georgia Mills Jessup
- Rose Powhatan
- Chief Ann Richardson
- Chief Paul Miles
- Chief Lennard Adkins
- Mildred Miles Moore
- Debora Moore
- Senora Lynch
- Christine Custalow
of Indigenous Arts and Culture
Copyrighted 2007 by Auld/Powhatan
Powhatan Confederacy people and other "First Contact" people, beginning with those named in the
written histories of the Eastern Woodland peoples by both the Spanish explorers of late 16th century
and the English settlers of Jamestown in 1607, continue to add their noteworthy accomplishments to
the multicultural society of the United States of America.
John Mercer Langston
Born: December 14, 1829 in Louisa County, Virginia.
Langston was the great-uncle of poet Langston Hughes. Langston was born in Louisa County, Virginia,
the son of Ralph Quarles, a white plantation owner, and Lucy Langston, emancipated by her husband, of
mixed African and Pamunkey background. Langston a prominent Pamunkey name, is currently found on
their reservation in King William County, Virginia. Langston was five when his parents died he moved to
the less segrigated Oberlin, Ohio, to live with family friends. The bright young lad enrolled in the state's
Oberlin College at the age of fourteen and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the institution.
He wanted to be a lawyer however, because of his race Langston was denied admission into law school so
he studied law under attorney and Republican congressman Philemon Bliss and was admitted to the Ohio
bar in 1854. He became an avowed abolitionist; helped runaway slaves to escape to the North along the
Ohio part of the Underground Railroad; a founding member and president of the National Equal Rights
League, which fought for black voting rights; moved to Washington, D.C., in 1868 to establish and serve
as dean of Howard University's law school; was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant a member of the
board of health of the District of Columbia; became the U.S. Minister to Haiti; in 1884 he served as chargé
d'affaires to the Dominican Republic; returned to Virginia to become the first president of Virginia Normal
and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University) in 1885; Langston was the first person of color elected to Congress from Virginia, and the
only one for another century.
According to Wikipedia, "Oklahoma's Langston University is named in his honor, as is the John Mercer Langston Bar Association in Columbus,
Ohio, Langston Middle School in Oberlin, Ohio, the former John Mercer Langston High School in Danville, Virginia, and John M. Langston High
School Continuation Program in Arlington, Virginia. He was a member of the board of trustees of Saint Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Virginia ,
founded in 1888 as the St Paul Normal and Industrial School, and incorporated by the General Assembly on March 4, 1890. His house in Oberlin
is a National Historic Landmark."
Dates: Birth and Death unknown.
Powhatan the First was the founder of a confederation of seven Algonquian nations in the
Tidewater area of Virginia. He united them as a possible means of defence against
neighboring non-Algonquian enemies. He was the father of Wahunsenacawh, publicly
known as King Powhatan to the English, and grandfather of Pocahontas. His name may
have either originated from a Maya ancestor or from a village near the head of navigation
on a major river, each of which was also called "Powhatan." He is credited with founding
the base of seven or eight original constituent tribes in Wahunsenacawh's Powhatan
Confederacy. Six of these "tribes" or nations were the Powhatans (proper), the
Arrohatecks, the Appamattucks, the Pamunkeys, the Mattaponi, and the Chiskiacks. By
1598 his son Wahunsennachaw or Powhatan II added the Kecoughtans to this fold.
Born: Around 1547; Died: 1618
Also known as Powhatan II and recorded as
Powhatan, was the founder of the extensive
32 to 34 nation chiefdom known as the
Powhatan Confederacy. He was the father
of the popularly known princess
Pocahontas. (For more information click
Powhatan II above).
VIRGINIA INDIAN HERITAGE HONOREES
Born: February 1, 1902 ; Died: May 22, 1967
Born in Joplin, Missouri, James Langston Hughes was a member of an abolitionist family. He was the
great-great-grandson of Charles Henry Langston, brother of John Mercer Langston, who was the
first American of color to be elected to public office, in 1855. Hughes attended Central High School
in Cleveland, Ohio, but began writing poetry in the eighth grade, and was selected as Class Poet.
His father didn't think he would be able to make a living at writing, and encouraged him to pursue a
more practical career. He paid his son's tuition to Columbia University on the grounds he study
engineering. After a short time, Langston dropped out of the program with a B+ average; all the
while he continued writing poetry. His first published poem was also one of his most famous, "The
Negro Speaks of Rivers", and it appeared in Brownie's Book. Later, his poems, short plays, essays
and short stories appeared in the NAACP publication Crisis Magazine and in Opportunity Magazine
and other publications. Langston Hughes was a prolific writer. In the forty-odd years between his
first book in 1926 and his death in 1967, he devoted his life to writing and lecturing. He wrote sixteen
books of poems, two novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of "editorial" and
"documentary" fiction, twenty plays, children's poetry, musicals and operas, three autobiographies,
a dozen radio and television scripts and dozens of magazine articles. Hughes argued, "no great
poet has ever been afraid of being himself."
POWHATAN MUSEUM HONOR ROLL
Born: 1640; Died: 1686)
Recorded by the English as the Queen of Pamunkey, under whom several nations in the Powhatan
Chiefdom came. She was the main signatory for the Indians on the 1677 Middle Plantation Treaty with the
English after the last Powhatan Confederacy's war with England. This treaty set up America's first Indian
reservation, the Pamunkey Reservation on Route 30, King William County, Virginia (Approximately 30
miles east of Interstate 95 and Route 30 or Kings Dominion Amusement Park). Unfortunately, unlike other
Virginia tribes, the Pamunkey have never elected a woman chief since she died. European diseases, wars
and genocide had weakened Powhatan's once powerful confederation. Concessions made by these Native
Americans were not honored although in the week before Thanksgiving, members of both the Pamunkey
and Mattaponi Reservations take deer or wild turkeys to the Governor's mansion in Richmond, Virginia as
part of their treaty agreement. The original tribute was in the now depleted otter skins that the English
highly prized. Other Native signers written phoenetically by the 18th century recorder of the treaty were:
King of the Nottowayes; *Cap't John West, sonne to the Queen of Pamunkey; Peracuta, King of the
Appomattux; Queen of Wayonaoake; King of the Nanzemod; Pattanochus, King of the Nansatiocoes;
Nanzemunds, & Portabacchoes; Shurenough, King of the Manakins; Mastegonoe, young King of the
Sappones; Tachapoake, Chiefe man of the Sappones; Ununtsquero, Chiefe man of the Maherians;
Horehonnah, next Chiefe man of the Maherians.
* Captain John West was also the son of the English official for whom the town of West Point, King William County was
"If white people are pleased we are glad. If they aren't, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too... If people [of color] are
pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, as strong as we know how
and we stand on the top of the mountain, free within ourselves." Langston Hughes received a scholarship to Lincoln University, in
Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. Degree in 1929. In 1943, he was awarded an honorary Lit.D by his alma mater; a Guggenheim
Fellowship in 1935 and a Rosenwald Fellowship in 1940. The block on which he lived in New York City on East 127th Street was renamed
"Langston Hughes Place" .
Carson Wayne Newton
Born: April 3, 1942
Wayne Newton is an American singer and entertainer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was born in
Norfolk, Virginia to Evelyn Marie "Smith" (née Plasters) and Patrick Newton, who was an auto mechanic.
His father was of Irish-Powhatan descent and his mother of German-Cherokee ancestry. While Newton
was still a child, his family moved to a home near Newark, Ohio. He began singing in local clubs,
theaters, and fairs with his brother. He performed over 30,000 solo shows in Las Vegas over a period of
more than 40 years. This earned him the nickname "Mr. Las Vegas". His best known songs include
"Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast" (1972) that was his biggest hit (peaking at #4 on the Billboard charts),
"Years" (1980), and his signature song, "Danke Schoen" (1963). He has appeared in over 25 movies
and television shows.
In 2008, an e-mail writer wrote, "His father is Irish more than Indian. I'm a Newton from
FREDERICKSBURG where he's really from. My grandmother used to babysit Wayne, and his aunt lived
right next door to me. He is not naturally tan nor does he have black hair as you can obviously see in his
pictures. He tries to glamorize his past, but he's a distant cousin of Pocahontas and only because we're
dependents of her uncle."
Lisa Mayo, Gloria Miguel and Muriel Miguel
Kuna/ Rappahannock sisters who founded the famous Spiderwoman Theatre
that has expanded storytelling methods, Native traditions and feminism
throughout their 30-year career. Their work at the National Museum of the
American Indian (NMAI) that featured original video pieces of sections from
signature works, including "The Boat Story," "Coming Out," and "I
Understand," as well as personal video interviews with the three sisters in
theatre-like settings. Archival and performance video footage, photos,
memorabilia, and Kuna and Rappahannock objects from the sisters' own
collections also was included in the exhibition. They began their careers at
an early age performing with their parents at church, in local parades and at
civic events in their native Brooklyn, N.Y. There the sisters founded
Spiderwoman Theater in 1975 and toured the world performing their original,
provocative plays. They have continued to tour their work, performing at
festivals, universities, in urban and rural settings in the United States,
Canada and abroad. Spider-woman Theater continues to create new work
and influence an entire generation.
David Mills (Pamunkey)
David Mills was born into a large Native American family from the District of
Columbia's Metropolitan Area. He died on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 in New Orleans
from a brain aneurysm on the HBO Television set after the final shooting of the
acclaimed dramatic television series “Treme,” America’s oldest African American
neighborhood. David was 48. He was a prolific writer/producer who began his writing
career on the University of Maryland's daily newspaper, The Diamondback. While
working as a journalist for the Washington Post Newspaper in the Nation's Capital,
his aunt, Georgia Mills Jessup, was instrumental in encouraging David to "follow his
dream" to Hollywood as a scriptwriter. Here are just a few of the accolades written
upon his death:
• Bruce Webber of the New York Times wrote that David “worked as a journalist
— he worked for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and The
Washington Post — and as a television writer, Mr. Mills was most interested in the
subject of race.”
• “Mills went on to write for some of the finest TV dramas of the era, including
‘Homicide: Life on the Streets’, ‘NYPD Blue,’ ‘ER’ and “The Wire’,” wrote Dave Walker
of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune.
• “In 2003, he created and served as executive producer for the short-lived NBC
crime drama, ‘Kingpin,’ the saga of a Mexican drug operation.”
Bernie Boston (Tauxenent/Dogue)
He was born in Washington, D.C., on May 18, 1933 and spent most of his life in
his Tauxenent ancestor's homeland of McLean, Virginia. Bernie Boston was a
Tribal Council member of the Tauxenent Nation of Virginia upon his death at his
home in Basye, Virginia on January 22, 2008. He and David Mills came from a
family of over 29 Native American descended artists that includes musicians,
actors, videographers, photographers, arts educators, arts administrators, an
arts lawyer, a medical illustralor/administrator, playwrights, writers and a
television producer. He was an avid collector of his ancient tribal and other
memorabilia, a daring pilot who walked away from a crash of his airplane, a
noted photojournalist and White House photographer. He was the publisher of
the Bryce Mountain Courier and his wife, Peggy, is the editor.
According to Wikipedia, “Boston graduated from the Rochester Institute of
Technology and served in the Army [for three years] before starting his news
photography career in Dayton, Ohio. He moved back to Washington to work at
the Star [Newspaper] and was director of photography when the newspaper
folded in 1981. He then was hired by The Los Angeles Times to establish a
photo operation in the nation's capital. During his career he covered every
president from Harry S. Truman to Bill Clinton.
On October 22, 1967 he photographed his most famous picture [left], 'Flower
Power', which featured Vietnam War protester George Harris inserting flowers
into National Guardsmen's rifle barrels. He was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize
with this photo. He was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a 1987 photograph of
Coretta Scott King unveiling a bust of her late husband, the Rev. Martin Luther
King, Jr., in the U.S. Capitol.
In 1993, National Press Photographers Association awarded Boston the Joseph
A. Sprague Memorial Award , their highest honor. He was inducted into the Hall
of Fame of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2006, a collection of Boston's photos were published in the book Bernie
Boston: American Photojournalist by Therese Mulligan.”