As we observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day for 2022, the society is thinking about the Monacan people who called this area home for more than a thousand years, and our Monacan friends of today, including Chief Kenneth Branham, pictured here with a quartz stemless knife.
Recently Monacan ties to Fluvanna were brought to public notice as they fought to preserve the historic Monacan capital Rassawek at the confluence of the James and Rivanna Rivers from development by the James River Water Authority as a water-intake and pumping station.
After a four-year battle, led by the Monacan and Cultural Heritage Partners, and supported by national, state, and local preservation organizations—including the Fluvanna Historical Society—as well as a grassroots organization called “Save the Point,” Rassawek is safe. Here are some relevant notes:
- BREAKING NEWS: RASSAWEK SAVED FROM DESTRUCTION!!!—After Four Year Battle, Water Authority Agrees to Alternate Route (lots of resources from Cultural Heritage Partners);
- This Washington Post article reported the news of March 2022: “Battle over Native American burial site in Virginia ends in tribal victory“;
- This issue of the Fluvanna Review includes information about the proposed water intake facility, the history of the site, and an advertisement published by the “Save the Point” advocacy group;
- The Fluvanna Historical Society repatriated to the Monacan Ann Hunt Collection, whose descendants placed the artifacts into our stewardship after her death. Some of the artifacts are already on display at the Monacan museum at Bear Mountain in Amherst County.
To learn more about the Monacan, visit their web site or read the incredible book by UVA Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, Dr. Jeffrey Hantman, entitled “Monacan Millennium: A Collaborative Archaeology and History of a Virginia Indian People.”