Historic Tourism Related to Native Americans

today, interpreters representing Native Americans within Powhatan's paramount chiefdom interact with visitors at Jamestown Settlement before they reach the recreated fort and replica ships
today, interpreters representing Native Americans within Powhatan's paramount chiefdom interact with visitors at Jamestown Settlement before they reach the recreated fort and replica ships

There are few sites dedicated to the interpretation of Native America heritage in Virginia, in contrast to the number of historical sites associated with the colonial period, the American Revolution, or the Civil War. Places on the Virginia Indian Heritage Trail include:
Pamunkey Indian Tribe Museum
Monacan Ancestral Museum
Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia’s Community House & Interpretive Center
Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum
Jamestown Settlement

Houses (yi-hakan) in the reconstructed Native American town at Jamestown Settlement provides some perspective on how Virginians lived prior to the arrival of the English in 1607. Visitors going to the reconstructed 1607 fort must pass through an area with yi-hakans

Structures are scattered with different orientations as they would have been in Native American towns, and not organized in rectangular patterns with straight streets. The houses are small and dark, with no windows, helping visitors recognize that people spent most of their time outdoors. One opening in the roof reveals how smoke escaped from the small fire kept burning constantly on the floor.

The re-creation also includes a part of a palisade, providing a clue that towns required defense.

Other details are incorrect. Structures have two doors to allow tourists to move through easily, rather than just one. For the sake of low cost and easy maintenance, the yi-hakan are covered with mass-produced fiber mats rather than with bark or cattails. It would be unrealistic to collect cane or cattails from nearby wetlands and build more-authentic structures, and in the reconstructed town open fires are not kept burning in the houses throughout the night. That is obviously safer, but because the mats are not kept dry by the constant heat they rot faster than would authentic bark or cattails.

the exhibit of a Native American village at Jamestown Settlement includes a thin representation of a protective palisade
the exhibit of a Native American village at Jamestown Settlement includes a thin representation of a protective palisade

The re-creation intended to draw tourists, and was so successful that Virginia decided to keep it in operation after the 350th anniversary was over. In 1989, the state renamed it Jamestown Settlement. In preparation for the 400th anniversay, the state invested in a new museum with new exhibits. The new museum reflected much greater sensitivity to cultural diversity, and highlights the role of Native American and Africans in Virginia as well as the English colonists.

The Federal government's American Battlefield Protection Program and the private Civil War Trust have both expanded their mission, and now acquire battlefields associated with the American Revolution and the War of 1812. There is no equivalent funding source for protection of sites associated with the Anglo-Powhatan wars, or the 1656 Battle of Bloody Run where Chief Totopotomy was killed while fighting for the colonists.

Since 2008, there has been a colonial equivalent to The Daughters of the American Revolution. The Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars "mark" sites associated with people of that time period, but there is no equivalent group marking sites associated with Native American life. 1

Jamestown - The First English Capital

Jamestown - Why There?

Sewells Point and the 1907 Jamestown Exposition

Powerlines vs. the Scenic Vista at Jamestown

Historic Preservation and Tourism at Williamsburg

History-Oriented Tourism

Links

the Historic Jamestowne visitor center built for the 2007 commemoration highlights a broad Atlantic World context, with a blending of English, Native American, and African cultures
the Historic Jamestowne visitor center built for the 2007 commemoration highlights a broad "Atlantic World" context, with a blending of English, Native American, and African cultures

References

1. "17th-century Church Tower," Historic Jamestowne, http://historicjamestowne.org/visit/plan-your-visit/17th-century-church-tower/ (last checked October 2, 2016)
2. "Chronology of Jamestown Commemorations," National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/chronology-of-jamestown-commemorations.htm (last checked December 27, 2014)
3. "A Spanish Spy Map of Jamestown Fort," Historic Jamestown, http://historicjamestowne.org/history/history-of-jamestown/zuniga-map-of-james-fort-2/; "Fort Pocahontas," Historic Jamestown, http://historicjamestowne.org/archaeology/map-of-discoveries/confederate-fort/ (last checked October 2, 2016)
4. Charles E. Hatch, Jr., Jamestown, Virginia: the townsite and its story, National Park Service, 1957, p.36, http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003800088 (last checked January 1, 2015)
5. Jane Eliza Davis, Round About Jamestown - Historical Sketches of the Lower Virginia Peninsula, James River Valley (Virginia), 1907, p.11, https://books.google.com/books?id=3ScTAAAAYAAJ (last checked December 27, 2014)
6. Charles E. Hatch, Jr., Jamestown, Virginia: the townsite and its story, National Park Service, 1957, pp.26-27, http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003800088 (last checked January 1, 2015)
7. "Jamestown Churches," Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/jamestown-churches.htm; "The Church at Jamestown," Preservation Virginia, http://apva.org/rediscovery/page.php?page_id=386; "The Jamestown Restoration," Boston Evening Transcript, May 12, 1906, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Bbs-AAAAIBAJ&sjid=VFoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3110%2C1947845 (last checked January 1, 2015)
8. Sarah McLennan, "Jamestown 350th Anniversary, 1957," Encyclopedia Virginia< Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, January 18, 2012, http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Jamestown_350th_Anniversary_1957 (last checked October 2, 2016)
9. "McAuliffe: Spend $5M on mental health, not on well-heeled commemoration," Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 12, 2017, http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/article_6f8bdd1d-bde8-54a9-8157-fddd06986da8.html (last checked February 12, 2017)


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