At 16 years old Cockacoeske (1640-1686) was the
Weroansqua (chief) or Queen of Pamunkey, the leading
tribe in the Powhatan "Kingdom", as the 17th Century
English called it. She governed over the extensive Powhatan
Confederacy/Chiefdom for 30 years after succeeding her
husband Totopotomoi who died in 1656.
Here she is next to her signature that was recorded in her
1677 treaty with the King of England when she was 37.
In this idealized composite illustration with a contemporary
Pamunkey descendant (Georgia Mills Jessup) as a model,
she wears a freshwater pearl adorned turkey feather
headdress. (Powhatan freshwater pearls were "blackened"
by the cooking process of the clam.) Around her neck she
wears a sacred copper gorget while pearls adorn both her
neck and wrist. She also wears an iridescent copper and
green wild turkey feathered cape. Her face and arm are
traditionally tattooed to show her high rank.
Note: Powhatan freshwater pearls became a part of the
extensive American pearl trade that began in the Americas
with pink conch pearls in the Bahamas (Lucaya Taíno
territory) and the rich pearl oyster beds from pre-Columbian
tribal pearl-trade sites near Margarita Island off the coast of
Venezuela, South America where the world's largest pearl,
"the Orphan", was later found by an enslaved indigenous
American pearl diver who then gained his freedom. The
Orphan is owned by actress Elizabeth Taylor.