The Proposed Sculptures
Either (A) Left: Powhatan II cloaked in Mantle Or (B) Right: Powhatan in Turkey-feathered Cloak
Your help is needed to make a monument of this magnitude possible.
One proposal shows him with the Powhatan Mantle over his shoulders. The other has him clad in a wild turkey feather
cape. The copper tinged, reflective turkey feathers were sacred to the Powhatan people since copper represented the
sun, another source of all life. The pedestal of the sculpture would be incised with his name and a seal reflective of the
symbol of the Powhatan cape. This cape, now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England and a copy at the
Jamestown Festival Park in Virginia, symbolized a man between his two totems (a deer and mountain lion) with 34
sacred circles representing indigenous Virginia member nations historically documented as the "Powhatan
The pedestal, on which the sculpture stands, is a truncated Powhatan totem, with etched traditional pictographic
stories. The stories begin with the Algonquian Origin Story of "Attan Akamik" ("Our Fertile Country" an indigenous
name for our area that was within the Powhatan Confederacy that emphasizes respect and gratitude for a bountiful
Earth), and "The Thanksgiving Story". Visitors could be given printouts of guides to the meanings of the pictographic
stories, which are popular cultural interpretations.
About the Artists
Rose Powhatan (Pamunkey/Tauxenent) and her husband of 51 years, Michael Auld are Washington, DC
artists/educators/historians. Michael is a member of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP). His wife Rose's
family is deeply rooted in Virginia. She is descended from the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia, the first federally recognized
Indian tribe of the state, as well as the Tauxenent Indian Nation (historic neighbors of George Washington, in Fairfax
County, Virginia). Her maternal ancestor, Opechancanough, was the brother of Powhatan II. Rose is also an
Algonquian wisdom keeper and storyteller. We are the founders of the Powhatan Museum educational website. As
retired educators and practicing artists, in 2007 we found it necessary to create a far reaching tool to educate the
public on Native American issues that were missing from the country's educational systems. The Powhatan Museum
promotes knowledge about Virginia Indian's contributions to the founding of the United States of America, so that it will
never be forgotten.
In 1986, we created the "Totems to Powhatan", six sculptures based on traditional Virginia Indian totem poles. The
circle of totems, ranging from 4 to 9 feet, were fire engraved on the front with the history of Virginia, from the
“Algonquian Origin Myth" to the "Old Dominion" we continue to honor to this day. Rose was the first Virginia Indian artist
of her generation to honor her ancestors by reviving the totem pole cultural tradition revered by her ancestors.
Figure 2a, 2b and 2c: Installation artists, Rose Powhatan & Michael Auld with six of their contemporary "Totems to
Powhatan" constructed for the 1986 Art for the Metro installation, Vienna Metro Station, Fairfax County, Virginia. The
Vienna site is near to homes where Rose spent her summers with local Pamunkey/Tauxenent relatives.
Figure 2c (Above): One of six commissioned traditional Powhatan Totems,Village center, Jamestown Festival Park,
|Anacaona Carib Children's Corner Historic Documents History Shopping Hurricane Home Mission Statement Opechancanough
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Present The Maya Connection Powhatan Gallery Profiles
|A MONUMENT TO
|TWO PROPOSED IDEAS FOR
BELOW: A LETTER TO THE VIRGINIA SENATORS KAINE & WARNER
AND HELP TO
1519 Monroe Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20010
The Honorable Mark R. Warner
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Warner,
Congratulations to you and Senator Kaine who are both to be commended on the role you played in the Federal
Recognition of Virginia's Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Monacan, and
the Nansemond Indian Tribes. The approval of a monument to Native American Veterans near Capitol Hill was
also an important milestone in honoring our country's Native Americans. However, Powhatan II's statue in
Statuary Hall will reaffirm the historic place of the "caucus"-- the intertribal gathering of Native American leaders
who came together at the site now known as Capitol Hill. Most Americans are not aware that the word "caucus"
originated with the Native Americans of the historic Virginia Territory which encompassed all of the original
colonies. The word "caucus" from corcas, (originally from caucauasu or "counselor") is Powhatan Algonquian
and today's Capitol Hill was the site of the gathering of tribal leaders to "caucus" with surrounding nations.
Powhatan II could be called "The Father of the Caucus".
Although Powhatan II and George Washington are both undeniable icons in American history, there is no
honoring of the indigenous leader from your state, responsible for allowing the United States of America to come
into being. Paramount chief Wahunsenacawh’s, (known as Powhatan II) presence should be made in the
Statuary Hall in the Capitol. Although his daughter, Pocahontas, is honored by a prominent painting showing her
baptism into the Christian faith, her father played a more pivotal role in the founding of the United States of
The Powhatan Museum (powhatanmuseum.com) proposes that Wahunsenacawh's statue replace that of Robert
E. Lee, which now stands in Statuary Hall. The proposal to do so would be an historic reminder of the indigenous
foundation of our country. It is fitting that there be a Powhatan II monument as a Virginia Native American
statesman. Indigenous roots in the historic "Virginia Territory" provided the fertile foundation for a nation that
grew and flourished to be our present day homeland.
Here are some points about Powhatan that qualify his placement among the honored statesmen in Statuary Hall:
*Powhatan II is the "Father Of All Caucuses".
*Chroniclers of the time, wrote that the Tiber Creek, once located at Capitol Hill "was Powhatan's favorite place
to [caucus]" with surrounding nations. Also said was that “Powhatan never left his territory.”
*The word "caucus" was adopted by many groups of America's legislators on Capitol Hill. The term was first
recorded by Captain John Smith after 1607.
Powhatan II's sentiment towards the arriving English, who he had allowed to settle in his vast territory, can be
seen as a sign of welcome to potential trading partners and neighbors. Unfortunately for Powhatan II and his
people, Captain John Smith and the representatives of the Virginia Company of London did not honor their
mutually agreed upon negotiations.
"Captaine Smith, you may understand that I having seene the death of all my people thrice, and not any
one living of these three generations but my selfe; I know the difference of Peace and Warre better than
any in my Country. But now I am old and ere long must die, my brethren, namely Opitchapam,
Opechancanough, and Kekataugh, my two sisters, and their two daughters, are distinctly each others
successors. I wish their experience no lesse then mine, and your love to them no lesse then mine to you.
But this bruit from Nandsamund, that you are come to destroy my Country, so much affrighteth all my
people as they dare not visit you. What will it avalle you to take that by force you may quickly have by
love, or to destroy them that provide you food?"
Is a statesman such as Powhatan II's and his ensuing actions not supporting causes for a monument as one
accorded to the other founding fathers of the United States of America? A monument to him and his people
would abate dismissive attitudes towards important contributive Native American history and culture. The very
foundation on which immigrants to this land have built a world admired democracy needs to be publicly
acknowledged in the Nation's Capitol.
Additionally, according to an April 1, 2018 Los Angeles Times headline below, there is currently a rising
sentiment in the United States for the correction of past erected monuments that disrespect Native American
contributions to our shared history.
"First it was Confederate monuments. Now statues offensive to Native Americans are poised to topple across the
U.S."--Jaweed Kaleem, LA Times, April 1st, 2018 headline. (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-native-american-
Rose A. Powhatan (Pamunkey/Tauxenent), Co-Founder
A. Michael Auld (Yamaye), Co-Founder