Featured Items

Monacan Quilt

This quilt, depicting Bishop Heath Light of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia shaking hands with former Monacan chief Kenneth Branham, is the work of Pat McCauley, wife of Monacan tribal member Tommy McCauley. It was made to commemorate the return of seven-and-a-half acres of Monacan…

A Festive Dance

This watercolor by English artist John White shows a festive dance scene in Secotan, an Indian town in the Outer Banks region of present-day North Carolina. White visited the town in July 1585, when a great religious ceremony, perhaps connected to the corn harvest, was taking place. Indians from…

Virginia Indian Canoe Dance, 2006

Virginia Indians perform a Canoe Dance at the "Big Day Out" event in Kent County, England, June 2006. From left: Jessica Canaday, Keith Smith, Barbara Williams, Glenn Cannaday, Faye Fortune, Adam (?), Judy Fortune, Jerry Fortune.

Portrait (Front) of Chief William H. Adkins JUN 1905

The Chickahominy chief William H. Adkins sits for a portrait by the photographer De Lancey W. Gill in June 1905. Gill (1859–1940) was a prolific photographer for the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology from 1898 until 1930 and specialized in making images of American…

Unus Americanus ex Virginia

This engraving, taken from life, shows an American Indian man wearing a necklace, earrings, and head ornaments. The inscription in the upper left reads, "Unus Americanus ex Virginia" (an American from Virginia), a place name that early in the seventeenth century referred to much of both present-day…

Powhatan's Mantle

Small, polished marine shells configured in the shape of discs, animals (probably a deer and a cougar), and a human figure are sewn onto this seventeenth-century Virginia Indian cloak. The artifact, in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, was described in a 1656 catalogue as…

Mattaponi Blackware

This pot is a piece of classic blackware by Christine Custalow, a member of the Mattaponi tribe. The pottery is formed with coils of clay, then covered in pine needles and wood and fired in an outdoor kiln to create a black finish. For more information about the artist and her process, see this…

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About the Project

The Virginia Indian Archive is a collection of images, documents, and audiovisual resources representing the history and cultural experiences of Virginia Indians since colonial times. Items in the collections were gathered from a wide range of sources, both historical and contemporary. A resource tool available to teachers, students, researchers, and the public, the archive is accessible to anyone interested in Native peoples in the region we now call Virginia. ... Read More