The 20th century was a time of great change for the Chickahominy people. Under the Racial Integrity Act, Virginia’s policies of segregation were among the most severe in the nation. Officials went so far as to destroy documents and records of Native people–including birth, marriage, census, and death records. According to state policy, Virginia’s Native peoples no longer existed.
Higher education was not available for Indians in Virginia until the 1960s, so our tribal members built schools and raised funds to pay teachers’ salaries. Even so, our children were barred by state law from receiving a diploma in Virginia. Many of our children went to Oklahoma to complete high school and attend college.
In time, the Chickahominy saw the repeal of the Racial Integrity Act and the disgrace of those who championed it. The tribe was granted official recognition by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1983, and is now pursuing federal recognition.
Today, tribal members contribute to surrounding communities by serving on boards and commissions and local government agencies.
In addition, the Chickahominy contribute to local economies through private business ownership.