We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Sacred Ground meeting, Feb. 29, 2024

The meeting  started with a  Collect on the right use of God’s gifts 

Meeting with Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Indians

In 1998, the Rappahannock Indians elected the first woman Chief, G. Anne Richardson, to lead a Tribe in Virginia since the 1700s  as a fourth generation chief in her family. Also in 1998, the Tribe purchased 119.5 acres to establish a land trust, retreat center, and housing development. 

Catherine met with her on Feb. 29, 2024. She found her amazingly wise, charismatic but humble. Issues discussed:

1. River Bank environment.  They have a person who can help with environmental issues along the river. There may be money with the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) for riverfront plants and can help work through soil and water issues.

2. They have a scholarship program to help their children get into higher education. Her daughter runs the program and will put her in touch.

3. Sign in Port Royal about the Indians. There is possibly a need for a second sign. She was not familiar with a 2021 article that appeared in the newsletter about the Indians. She feels like she doesn’t know the whole story and will send the article is to their historian

4. She reviewed the land acknowledgment. It is an important step and she has some ideas for different wording

5. She is interested in a ceremony to heal the land in Port Royal. Whey you heal the land you heal the people. Both the land can people are made of earth

6.They are looking for descendants of The Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924, a law that prohibited interracial marriage and established a legal definition of whiteness. The act banned interracial marriage by requiring marriage applicants to identify their race as “white,” “colored,” or “mixed.” The Racial Integrity Act was not overturned until 1967 when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that prohibiting interracial marriage was unconstitutional

7. Reconciliation with the relatives of William Byrd. She went to Byrd’s estate in England and a relative wanted to apologize for his damage to the Indians.  

Catherine wants to find ways for the connections to continue 1 . Healing ceremony 2. Scholarships. They have one but not sure how it is funded

Patawomeck’s possible interest in scholarships 

They are interested in pursuing a scholarship

Getting together with Alanna 

Alanna a scholarship recipient is taking 2 classes and receiving “B”.  The classes are covered financially through other sources

 Research on Food Insecurity

The purpose of the research was to raise issue of food insecurity involving children and related issues of race.  Secondly was to provide avenues of possible future engagement with the school system

‘The group wanted time to give the ideas some thought. It may be good to publicize the possibilities so individuals can participate in some of these ministry opportunities. 

Food distribution depends on many factors – transportation, and communication of opportunities available.  Many people are hidden from us.  There are funds that these familiies need fro other things besides food.  Clusters of food insecurity  can cause people to remain hidden possibility due to immigration issue

Some of these issues will be brought up to CERVE.  Are there pocket food insecurity they may not know about?

Possibly the group needs to publicize a book list.  Here are some books brought to our attention

  1. The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
  2. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel by James McBride
  3. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

The next meeting will be in April or May after Easter (March 31, 2024).