American Indians were the first people who lived in Virginia before the settlers came.
Christopher Columbus called the people he found in the lands he explored “Indians” because he thought he was in the Indies (near China).
Three Major Native American Language Groups in Virginia
Algonquian languages were spoken primarily in the Tidewater region; the Powhatan were part of this group
Siouan languages were spoken primarily in the Piedmont region; the Monacan were part of this group
Iroquoian languages were spoken in Southwestern Virginia; the Cherokee were a part of this group
American Indian Adaptations
American Indians were very connected to the environment and used nature to survive.
Climate in Virginia
The climate in Virginia is mild with seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter)
Forests, which have many types of trees, cover most of Virginia
The kinds of food American Indians ate, the clothing they wore, and the shelters they had depended on the seasons.
Foods changed with the seasons:
In winter, they hunted birds and other animals and lived on foods stored during the previous fall
In spring, they hunted, fished, and picked berries
In summer, they grew crops (beans, corn, squash)
In fall, they harvested crops and hunted for foods to keep for the winter
Animal skins (deerskin) were used for clothing
Shelter was made from materials around them (wood, mud, straw, etc.)
American Indians' Legacy
Artifact: a human-made object from the past
Archaeology: the study of history using artifacts and other evidence
Werowocomoco: a large Indian town on the York River, used by Indian leaders such as Powhatan
Jamestown: the first permanent English settlement in North America
Archaeologists have discovered artifacts (such as arrowheads, pottery, and tools) that give them clues about the interactions of the Indians, English, and Africans in early Virginia.
American Indian people have lived in Virginia for thousands of years, and there are American Indian tribes located throughout Virginia today.
There are many ways that American Indians maintain their culture:
Music (drumming, singing)
Crafts (art, jewelry, pottery)
Powwows (public festivals that teach American Indians and visitors about American Indian culture)