Tawts may-we, readers! I am Kaya and I had the privilege of going with Heather and her family to Jamestown, Virginia. As you know, I am Nimiipuu, a Nez Perce, from what is now Idaho. I never travelled so far east to see the Powhatan Native Americans before, but I got the chance to do so this week.
I travelled in modern style by car. Heather stopped at a gas station and took a picture of me with some pretty flowers I saw out the window. They look like doll size snapdragons.
After we had arrived in Virginia, a couple days later I was taken to Jamestown.
It’s funny how a native people who lived so far away from me could be so similar in how they lived and worked and ate.
They lived in longhouses called Yohacan, just like I do in the winter time.
The women wove reeds into mats to cover the houses just like I did with Brown Deer, my sister. Of course, these Powhatan Indians didn’t travel for food like I did. They stayed in these longhouses year round.
The only time we ever really go inside our houses is when it is storming, or cold, or it is time to sleep. We like to do most of our work outside. The Powhatans especially wouldn’t have wanted to stay inside because it is so hot and humid. Inside, you will find a fire pit for warmth in the night,
and hides to sleep on.
I do not think they slept on hammocks (I didn’t) but I thought this wolf hide worked well for a doll like me!
There is a big celebration when a warrior kills a bear. This bear is SO big!
These mats were so nice and soft, I felt my eyes start to close…but Heather woke me up and asked me to finish weaving this basket.
I remember weaving baskets with Kautsa and Speaking Rain. We would listen to the wonderful stories Kautsa would tell us.
After showing everything inside the Yohacan we went outside where I found a mortar and pestle.
Heather’s mom put me to work grinding corn.
We walked over by a tree stump where a Powhatan guide was showing us how to make tools the Indians used. She said that unfortunately, people today don’t know all that much about Powhatan Indians except for what the Europeans drew and wrote about them. The Powhatan Indians, just like so many Native Americans didn’t write things down. They passed on stories, traditions, and ways of life through speech, song, and action. For example, Indians probably used a pinecone, like you saw in the basket I was weaving, for flint, turtle shells for platters (or to hold paint like Brown Deer!) but people today don’t know that for a fact. They can only go by what the Europeans wrote down, as that’s the only notation they have to go on. And the Europeans only wrote down what was interesting and different to them.
These tools you see here are needles to make the mats that cover the Yohacan.
We saw this in one of the Yohacans and the guide told us it was a feather headdress.
Scraping hides are one of my least favorite chores because it takes so long to do. I much prefer painting beautiful designs on them like I did with Brown Deer’s parfleche she was making for Cut Cheek.
Can you guess what I’m sitting in?
Yep! It’s a canoe. The Powhatans used canoes and fished just like the Nimiipuu did in the summer time. When you walk out of the Powhatan village, you go down a little path that leads to the ships that carried the first passengers who arrive in America to start a new life. From there, you can also go in the actual Jamestown settlement and visit a very large museum about the Native Americans and the English settlers. Heather decided not to take any pictures with me there since it has nothing to do with my story, and she’s hoping AG might come out with a pilgrim historical doll sometime. Plus we didn’t have time to see the museum before it closed.
After we left Jamestown, we decided to take a ride on a car ferry over the James river.
We could see the Jamestown ships, the Susan Constant, and the Godspeed from the ferry.
Just like this motorcycle, we drove up a ramp and onto the ship, the lower outside level was a parking lot.
There were plenty of birds and their nests all around us on posts.
And tons of birds and seagulls.
Once all the cars were loaded on, we were allowed to get out of our car and walk up to the top deck of the ship.
From there we could see all the cars, and tried to find our own…
There it is!
Then we walked back down to the front of the ship to feel the river spray.
Hey! This ferry is called the Pochahontas! And there was another ferry called the John Smith. I’m sure you all are familiar with Pochahonta’s story. Yes, she did come from the Powhatan Indian tribe but she did not marry John Smith like everyone likes to think. Instead she married John Rolfe and got to travel to England, became a Christian and was baptized there. She even got to meet King James I of England. On April 11, 2014, Jamestown celebrated what would have been Pochahontas’s 400th wedding anniversary with a re-enactment.
Heather and I walked all around the ship but her mom stayed up on the top deck making friends with everyone.
That’s the John Smith ferry boat.
I loved the breeze on my skin.
It was so refreshing to be out on the river instead of the hot humid air on land.
I took one last look before I was packed back in the basket to head to shore. The other side of the James River where we went was really not that interesting. It is a very tiny town called Surry. We could have driven twenty more miles to another town which had restaurants and little tourist shops but there had just been a motorcycle accident and the road was blocked. We watched a helicopter land to take the cyclist to a trauma center. We prayed that he would be okay.
After about twenty minutes of looking around this teeny town, we decided to head back on the ferry and go home.
And what perfect timing too, because the sun was setting!
Heather took so many pictures of the sunset.
That was my big adventure. All the other days when I didn’t travel I stayed in the house on a little table.
I had Tatlo to keep me company and Heather made this travois out of sticks from her back yard just before she left. I couldn’t believe she brought it with on the trip because it’s so big and fragile.
For her uncle’s birthday, I dressed up in my pow-wow outfit.
Qo’c ‘ee hexnu! (Until next time.)