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The Ripley's, the VIAB, and the WRG meet to discuss the goals of the upcomming field season.

Wayne Adkins descibes what he believes is the importance of Werowocomoco to the Virginia Indian community...: Wayne Adkins Part 1

...and the current model of cooperation between the WRG, landowners, and the Virginia Indians: Wayne Adkins Part 2

The Werowocomoco Research Group (WRG) and the landowners of the site made a significant step toward establishing a new paradigm for cooperative archaeology when they decided that they wanted the descendent Indian communities involved in the research planning, activities and interpretation from the outset. They approached the Virginia Council on Indians, the state entity responsible for Indian issues, and informed them in executive session in November, 2002, about the proposed research. The WRG then invited the chiefs and tribal leaders to a meeting at the site during which they gave an overview of the research plans and goals and the desire for a partnership with the Virginia Indians. This meeting took place in February, 2003. At that time, the WRG asked the tribal leaders for a Virginia Indian Advisory Board made up of representatives of the descendent community tribes.

The Virginia Indian Advisory Board was formed of tribal appointees before the first field research was begun at Werowocomoco. Members include Jeff Brown, Pamunkey; Kerry Canaday, Chickahominy; Mark Custalow, Mattaponi; Lee Lockamy, Nansemond; Chief Anne Richardson, Rappahannock; Reggie Tupponce, Upper Mattaponi, and ex-officio advisors Chief Steve Adkins, Chickahominy and Chief Emeritus Oliver Perry, Nansemond.

Landowner Lynn Ripley describes her role in interacting with the Virginia Indian community: Lynn Ripley

The responsibilities of the Virginia Indian Advisory Board include advising the Werowocomoco Research Group and the landowners on issues concerning research planning, research methodology and interpretation. This advice may occasionally take the form of developing policy. As one of its early activities, the Advisory Board crafted a policy on human remains and grave goods, as the treatment of human remains and funerary objects is a highly significant concern of the Virginia Indian community. In drafting the policy, the Advisory Board used as a guide the text of a policy that had been formally adopted by the Virginia Council on Indians in 1993. The text of the policy was then adapted specifically for the Werowocomoco property. Subsequently the policy was formally adopted by the WRG and the landowners. (To see the policy, click here.)

The Werowocomoco Virginia Indian Advisory Board members also help keep their tribal communities informed on the activities and plans at Werowocomoco, and they solicit opinions and information to share with the WRG and the landowners to help in making future plans.

Scheduled visits by members of the descendent Indian communities are welcomed by the landowners, both during the research periods and at other times throughout the year. During the first research phase of 2003, many tribal members came to visit and some even worked along with the archaeology team.

In the fall and winter months of 2003/04, the Werowocomoco Research Group will be making formal presentations on the results of the first year's research to the Virginia Council on Indians and to Virginia's tribal communities. These presentations will provide additional opportunity for open interaction and dialogue between the WRG and the Virginia Indian community, so that the research at Werowocomoco progresses with the researchers, landowners and the descendent Indian communities in full partnership.