We arrived at the reservation just before the guide finished the previous group. When we off loaded from the bus, our tour guide divided us into two groups. One group was led into the museum and the other half to the one room school house.
A display inside the museum showed primitive pieces of hunting equipment, pottery, tomahawks, tools and a small section of bead works and clothing.
I read a pamphlet about this one-room frame school house which for decades the state partially supported. This school on the Pamunkey reservation offered elementary education to a small number of children until it closed in the 1950s; but many Virginia Indians who desired to attend high school were denied admittance to the racially segregated public schools. In Virginia, they either had to leave home to attend a government Indian school in another state or quit school before completing their education. This Pamunkey Indian school is now part of the tribal museum on the Pamunkey Reservation.
Inside, three black chalk boards hung on the wooden wall. On one side of the room sat a wood burning stove. In the cold and chilly months, the warmth from the stove was a blessing to the young children. I enjoyed the history and heritage about this reservation.
The Pamunkey tribe is one of only two that still retain reservation lands assigned by the 1646 and 1677 treaties with the English colonial government. The Pamunkey reservation is located on some of its ancestral land on the Pamunkey River adjacent to present day King William County. Virginia.
Since we are on a bus tour, our time at the reservation was cut short. I wanted to see the fish hatchery that Pamunkey Indians maintain. One of the main staple of their diet is fish. The Pamunkey have maintained a philosophy that if you took fish from the water, you should put some back. I did learn a little information about their hatchery.
In 1918 they started an indoor fish hatchery with an 800 gallon holding tank, gas powered motor, hatching jars and holding tanks. As soon as the eggs hatched, they were gravity-fed back into the Pamunkey River. Since then, the Pamunkey Tribal expanded the hatchery from 12 hatching jars to 24 and upgraded the facilities and filtration system.
Now with a larger hatchery and more equipment to spawn the shad fish they can tag the shad to help document life history characteristics. Spawning shad (broad stock) will be manually spawned and fertilized eggs will be incubated in the hatchery. Upon hatching, the young shad fry will be intensively cultured for about a 16 day period. During their stay at the hatchery, the dry will be marked with Oxytetracyclin (OTC) on a set sequence of days that will give the shad produced from the PTG hatchery a unique tag. All shad produced from this facility will be released back into the Pamunkey River.