The Rappahannock River was named after the Tribe who called it home for centuries. image

The Rappahannock River was named after the Tribe who called it home for centuries.

You can help to reconnect Rappahannock Tribal Youth to their river heritage.

$60 raised

$50,000 goal

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Our property at Fones Cliffs on the river is highly significant to the Rappahannock Tribe because it is the site of our historic homelands that were taken from our ancestors during early days of colonization. Our way of life was centered around the river – fishing, oysters, hunting, agriculture, pottery, basket weaving, fish traps, and netting – all of which was based on the natural resources of the river. When the tribe was displaced and our ancestors were forced inland to our current location, it was miles away from the tribe’s life sustaining practices. The spiritual connection to the river was lost, devastating the culture and changing the history of the tribe’s struggle to survive.

In spite of the theft of our lands during colonization, the violence and discrimination against our people during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the paper genocide of our native race as a result of Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act, we have survived as a Tribal Community, receiving recognition by the federal government in 2018.

Today, we want to reconnect our youth to their ancestral homeland by sharing our cultural practices, our indigenous conservation and sustainable agriculture methods, and our spiritual connection with the land. Our summer camp program for youth and young adults, led by Assistant Chief and Director of River Programs, Mark Fortune, includes canoe-making, fish weirs and net making, collection of clay along the riverbanks, and other activities that were part of the life of our ancestors. You can help by making a tax deductible contribution to our Return to the River Program.