Many Upper Mattaponi people live in King William County. The Tribe has strong ties to Christianity and their community is centered around The Indian View Baptist Church, built in 1942.
Next door to the church is the Sharon Indian School. Originally built in the early 1900’s, it was replaced with a more modern structure in the 1950’s. As the only public Indian school building in the state of Virginia, it now serves as the Tribal Center.
The Tribe sponsors an annual Spring Festival and Pow-Wow to promote the culture and history of Indian people.
Today the Upper Mattaponi own 32 acres of land and are a proud and humble people of strong character and values, with much optimism and hope for the future. The tribe was officially recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia on March 25, 1983, but continues to struggle for Federal acknowledgement:
- S.2694 Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2002, introduced to the 107th Congress on June 27, 2002.
- S.1423 Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2003, introduced to the 108th Congress on July 17, 2003.
- S.480 Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2005, introduced to the 109th Congress on March 1, 2005.
Chief Kenneth Adams was the first Indian to graduate from King William High School in 1965. He has served in the U.S. military and fought in Viet Nam in 1967. Today, he is an active spokesperson for the Tribe and instrumental in their efforts to achieve Federal recognition as evidenced by his testimony at the S.2694 hearing on October 9, 2002.
The Mattaponi Indian Reservation sits on the banks of the Mattaponi River, one of the most pristine rivers in the Eastern United States. Facilities on the reservation include living quarters, a small church, a museum, the Fish Hatchery and Marine Science Center and a Tribal building that was formerly the Reservation school.
The Pamunkey Indian Reservation is situated on the Pamunkey river adjacent to King William County Virginia and contains approximately 1,200 acres of land — including 500 acres of wetlands with numerous creeks. Thirty-four families reside on the reservation and many Tribal members live in nearby Richmond, Newport News, other parts of the States and all over the United States. Today, the Pamunkey Indians are deeply involved in preserving their surviving culture and natural resources. Much of the surviving Pamunkey culture is indebted to a subsistence lifestyle centered around pottery making, fishing, hunting and trapping. Now as the old ways are passing, the Pamunkey Indians are still looking to their natural resources as a way to make a living. The reservation is the home of the Pamunkey Indian Baptist Church; built in 1866, it is the oldest Indian Church in the state of Virginia.