Powhatan II (his real name was
Wahunsenacawh). The word
"Powhatan" means "One Who
Dreams". It refers to the historic
figure, his father, a title and a place.
Some families within the Powhatan
Confederacy as far north as the
Tauxenents of Fairfax County,
Virginia, also had the surname
"Powhatan". He lived from 1550(?) -
1618, and was the paramount
Virginia Native American chief
during the period of the founding of
Jamestown in a land Europeans
called "The New World". Jamestown
(1607) had the distinction of being
the first permanent English colony
in the Americas. Chief Powhatan
headed a tribal alliance of 32 Indian
nations, known as the "Powhatan
Confederacy".  Its boundaries  
stretched from North Carolina to
Washington, D.C., to the Eastern
Shore region (approximately 16,000
square miles). He is popularly
well-known to be the father of
Pocahontas, the Pamunkey Indian
child who supposedly saved the life
of Captain John Smith. In early
1617 Powhatan went to the
Tauxenent (Dogue) town of
May-umps near the mouth of
Virginia's Occoquan River. By May,
1618 he died and his body may
Powhatan's Speech to Captain John Smith (1609)

"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. What can you get by warre, when we can hide our provisions and fly to the
woods? whereby you must famish by wronging us your friends. And why are you thus jealous of
our loves seeing us unarmed, and both doe, and are willing still to feede you, with that you
cannot get but by our labours? Thinke you I am so simple, not to know it is better to eate good
meate, lye well, and sleepe quietly with my women and children, laugh and be merry with you,
have copper, hatchets, or what I want being your friend: then be forced to flie from all, to lie
cold in the woods, feede upon Acomes, rootes, and such trash, and be so hunted by you, that I
can neither rest, eate, nor sleepe; but my tyred men must watch, and if a twig but breake, every
one cryeth there commeth Captaine Smith: then must I fly I know not whether: and thus with
miserable feare, end my miserable life, leaving my pleasures to such youths as you, which
through your rash unadvisednesse may quickly as miserably end, for want of that, you never
know where to finde. Let this therefore assure you of our loves, and every yeare our friendly
trade shall furnish you with Corne; and now also, if you would come in friendly manner to see
us, and not thus with your guns and swords as to invade your foes."

(Established in the 17th Century, it is the oldest reservation in the United States)

The Pamunkey was the largest of the tribes that made up the Powhatan chiefdom in 1607 when
the English arrived in Virginia. Today, the museum in King William County provides insight into
the tools, pottery, clothing and housing of some of the earliest Americans. Well-preserved tribal
dress and beautifully crafted pottery made by the reservation residents highlight the experience
at the museum and adjacent gift shop.

The Parnunkey Indian Museum, located off Route 30 in King William County, Virginia, is open
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m - 4 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Phone: (804) 843-4792. Nominal donation requested.
Powhatan Museum
of Indigenous Arts and Culture
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have remained with the Tauxenents until its transfer for burial in a sacred place in 1621. His interment
site is believed to be in a large mound on the Pamunkey Reservation in King William County, Virginia.
The mound is located near the railroad tracks where many medicinal sassafras trees grow. Pamunkey
reputedly means "Place of the Sweat" and is believed to have been the location of the Powhatan
Confederacy or Chiefdom's sacred temple site. The Pamunkey have resisted requests to excavate the
mound on their sovereign territory. They retain the same respect that is accorded to George
Washington's grave. Powhatan's lifespan of approximately 68 years, by European standards, was
relatively long for that era. Powhatan was also a renowned orator, and his 1609 speech (below) to
John Smith lives on to inspire his people today.