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Nansemond Indian Tribe Reclaims Native Land in Suffolk

PHOTO: The Nansemond Indian tribe is planning to build a cultural center and replica Indian village on property that used to belong to its ancestors. Photo Credit: Jesse Bass
PHOTO: The Nansemond Indian tribe is planning to build a cultural center and replica Indian village on property that used to belong to its ancestors. Photo Credit: Jesse Bass
August 16, 2013

SUFFOLK, Va. – This weekend, the Nansemond Indian Tribe is reclaiming its ancestral land in Virginia.

After years of delays, the city of Suffolk is transferring park land to the tribe so it can build a cultural center and a replica Indian village.

The deed signing will take place at the tribe's 25th annual powwow on the property at Lone Star Lakes Lodge.

Event organizer Jesse Bass says tribe members are coming from all over the country to be a part of it.

"The historical value of it is as big as any other Jamestown, or Williamsburg or anything like that where the native people of Virginia have been and lived and thrived," he says.

The Suffolk City Council made headlines in 2010 when it voted to give the Nansemond the land.

It was the first time in modern Virginia history that locally owned land was given to native residents without a lawsuit.

Along with the dedication of the land, Bass says the tribe's annual powwow is a huge draw and keeps the spirit of its ancestors alive.

"We'll have our drums, our dancers, we'll have our good feelings,” he explains. “We always set out to educate the public, and let it be known that we are here.

“Let it be known that our historical significance is important."


Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA