in the mid-1600's, the Dutch still used the name "Pamunkey" rather than "York" River
Source: Library of Congress, Map of Atlantic Coast of North America from the Chesapeake Bay to Florida (Joan Vinckeboons, 1639?)
just prior to the American Revolution, John Henry documented where the Pamunkeys had lived since the English first arrived
Source: Library of Congress, A new and accurate map of Virginia (by John Henry, 1770)
prior to the Civil War, the Richmond and York River Railroad built its line across the lands of the Pamunkey Tribe ("Indian Town") to connect Richmond to the deeper port at West Point
Source: Library of Congress, Atlas of the War of the Rebellion, Southeastern Virginia and Fort Monroe, Va. (1892)
the Confederate Engineer Bureau documented how the Richmond and York River Railroad crossed the Pamunkey reservation
Source: Library of Congress, Map of King William County, Va (by Benjamin Lewis Blackford, c.1865)
When the English colonists arrived in 1607, they discovered that the paramount chief Powhatan lived with the Pamunkey at Werowocomoco, at Purtan Bay on the York River.
In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, the Pamunkey objected to plans to draft men into the US military. Because the Pamunkey were classified as "Indians not taxed," they were not treated as citizens until the US Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act in 1924.
On August 25, 1917, Chief George Cook testified that:1
two members of the Pamunkey Indian tribe ceremonially delivered the annual payment of tribute to Gov. Baliles in 1989
Source: Prints and Photographs, Library of Virginia, Indian Tribes Pay Tribute Taxes to Governor Baliles
By 2019, there were over 400 enrolled members of the tribe, and 85 of them lived on the reservation.2
The Federal government recognized the Pamunkey in 2016. Formal recognition came through the administrative process of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in the US Department of the Interior. That preserved the right to open full-scale gambling casinos (Class III, with roulette wheels and slot machines) under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In contrast, the six Virginia tribes that were recognized in January 2018, when the US Congress passed the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act, agreed to give up any opportunity to open casinos.
In 2019, the General Assembly started the process to authorize state-regulated casino gambling. Legislation in 2019 restricted the potential Norfolk and Richmond markets to just the Pamunkey. The Norfolk City Council then committed to sell to the Pamunkey land next to Harbour Park for a hotel, restaurant, and entertainment venue anchored by a Class III gambling casino. The tribe also acquired land in Richmond.3
Chief William Terrill Bradley in the 1920's
Source: Museum of the American Indian, Chapters on the ethnology of the Powhatan tribes of Virginia (p.243)
Nannie Miles and Mrs. Allmond in the 1920's
Source: Museum of the American Indian, Chapters on the ethnology of the Powhatan tribes of Virginia (p.247)