Natives in the Landscape

Church & School
The organization of an Indian church and the establishment of an Indian school occurred at the same time as the formal organization of the tribe. Both institutions played vital roles in the cultural resurgence of the tribe.

© 2006 Charles City County

Chickahominy Gallery: Church & School

In 1901 a group of families withdrew from Cedar Grove and Little Elam Baptist Churches to form a new congregation and acquired the old Samaria Baptist Church which had been closed for a number of years. The church was officially recognized by the Dover Baptist Association as Samaria Indian Church in 1901. The church pictured here was built in 1910 at the site of the present church and dismantled when the brick church was opened in 1961. Photo courtesy Chickahominy Indian Tribe.

Zu-Zue Red Cloud-Owen (seated) Chief Ozias Westmore Adkins (left) and Allen Adkins (right) are pictured here on the steps of Samaria Indian Baptist Church in the 1930s. The group photo, also on the steps of Samaria, probably dates to the 1940s. Photo left courtesy Charles City County Center for Local History, photo right courtesy Chickahominy Indian Tribe.

At the turn of the 20th century Virginia schools were segregated by law. As a part of their cultural resurgence the Chickahominies established their own school, supporting it by themselves at first. Staff of Samaria School is pictured here with Superintendent Harris in 1922. Photo courtesy Charles City County Center for Local History.

This photo of Samaria School in 1940 shows an American flag flying in front. A Richmond News Leader article of July 18, 1918 reported on a flag raising ceremony scheduled to take place at Samaria, citing it as the first time an American flag had flown over an Indian school house in the State of Virginia. The event appears to have been related to a controversy concerning draft of Virginia Indians to serve in WWI. Virginia Indians initially refused induction during WWI because Indians were not U.S. Citizens. After the State Attorney General ruled in their favor, many enlisted. Shortly after this ceremony at least four members of the tribe entered the army. Photo courtesy Charles City County Center for Local History.

Samaria Indian School extended only to the 8th grade when these photos were taken in 1940. A new school was dedicated in 1951 that was designed to provide primary and secondary education for Chickahominy, Pamunkey and Mattaponi students. It was not until almost a decade later, however, that it was able to award high school diplomas. Photos courtesy Charles City County Center for Local History.

Because Samaria School did not extend through high school, Chickahominies who desired further education attended a boarding school at Bacone College, a Baptist-affiliated school for Indians located near Muskogee, Oklahoma. The State of Virginia paid a subsidy of $200 to each student until 1950. Some stayed on for Junior College. The graduating class of 1950 pictured here, included six Chickahominy students. Photo courtesy Bacone College.

Chickahominy cultural rediscovery continues today. Members of the Tribe are pictured here with a student at the site of Werowocomoco, Powhatan’s chief residence c.1607. Ongoing archaeological research at Werowocomoco is being conducted through a partnership with the College of William & Mary and the Virginia Indian community. Photo courtesy of the Werowocomoco Research Group.

Scenes for The New World, a movie about the Jamestown settlers and Capt. John Smith, were filmed in Charles City County. The movie provided an authentic portrayal of Native costume, settlements and language. Steve Adkins, son of the current chief, was one of the Virginia Indians cast as an extra in the movie. He is shown in this photograph just to the left of Colin Farrell. Photo © 2005 Merie Wallace, SMPSP / New Line Productions.

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Natural Environment Learn about the Chickahominy tribe. Learn about the Paspahegh tribe. Learn about the Weyanock tribe.