Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Mattaponi Indian Reservation

It was my last 'exploration' before the final push to Florida and it turned out to be one of my favorites.  This tiny little Indian Reservation is located approximately ten miles off the freeway near a little town in Virginia called West Point.  I decided to search out the spot because my sister had come this way some years before and suggested I check it out.

The little hand written sign on the post said, "It's a Beautiful Day" and was signed by Chief Little Eagle Custalow.  Not only was the day beautiful but it was also perfect for a picnic.

I drove past the little cluster of houses and didn't see a person anywhere but I found this area with a sign that said, "Museum.'
 So I parked in front under a shade tree and ate my lunch while watching for someone to come along.
 Off in the distance I could see a man working in his garden and when I waved in his direction he waved back  and came to open the museum.

And in a very short time I was given a history of the tribe,
its many broken treaties,
the Mattaponi family, (that incidentally includes Pocohontas and Wayne Newton),
how to make a comb,
and how to grow fantastic vegetables...

and all of it from the Honorable Chief George Custalow himself!
That feather he is holding is part of a long story about a mysterious old woman who appears unexpectedly, brings Chief George back from near death after a heart attack by waving the plume over his comatose body, then disappears never to be seen again.

I explored the museum and all the while listened to, and thoroughly enjoyed, all of Chief George's stories.

"The Execution Club that John Smith was to be executed with.  When Pocohontus pleaded for his life her father  Powhattan pardoned him and peace was restored between the Indians and the English until 1622,"

"Pocahontus' necklace, worn by Princess Pocahontus in 1607, who later saved the life of Captain John Smith.  Married John Rolph in 1614"

  "An early type of indian comb burned by heating stone with thin edges."

Chief George Custalow in his headdress.
Finally, I had to get back on the road but I just had to ask the Chief what he was growing in his garden. He took me out to proudly show off some of the biggest cabbages I've ever seen growing.

He also had beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and lots more.  And he gave me a parting gift of the following....

Wow!  Something like the generosity of his ancestors when they greeted the visitors at Jamestown.
So I reluctantly said "Goodbye" and turned Halcyon II south toward Florida.

Indian Prayer
"I bid you great spirit that I may understand you,
Not, Brother, until I walk in your mockasins from sunrise til sunset,
Then I understand you well."
So if you are ever passing this way, stop for a picnic and an afternoon with Chief George.


  1. Wow! You covered most of the points of interest that I have circled for our trip around Virginia and this last one surprised me. I have it circled on my map. During my Ancestry search I have discovered that Pocahontas is the Great aunt 9 times removed of Waymon and so we were going to make a stop there. Because of the extreme heat this summer we have postponed our trip until next year which really disappoints me but I'm so glad I was able to make the trip with you. Keep posting. It is fun reading about your travels. Barbara Wittman

  2. Say 'Hello' to Chief George for me. Good to hear from you, Barbara. Toni

  3. Love learning about Native American history. Thanks for a peek into this reservation!

    On another note, I'm looking at a Roadtrek for myself and I have some questions that I thought you might be able to answer girl to girl. Can you email me or call? Email and I can give you my number from there. Thanks!