Map of the tribes in the Powhatan Paramount Chiefdom in 1607.

“The Powhatan Chiefdom in 1607” by Helen Rountree.

November is Native American Heritage Month. In Virginia, we live on land the Powhatan Confederacy once inhabited. In honor of them, let’s learn! 

 The Powhatan language, not spoken for centuries now, is called Virginian Algonquian. We have this language to thank for several words that we use now, such as racoon (aroughcun, pronounced a-raw-coon) and (o)possum (opassum, pronounced oh-pah-som). To say hello, Disney – surprisingly – got it right: it’s Wingapo. 

Counting in Virginian Algonquian starts like this: 

One: Nekut 

Two: Ninge 

Three: Nus 

Four: Yough 

Five: Paranske 

To learn more, here are some books in our collection that you can borrow: 

Book  Call Number 
Indivisible: African-Native American lives in the Americas  E184 .A1 I463 2009 
Home places: contemporary Native American writing from sun tracks  PS508 .I5 H6 1995 
Plundered skulls and stolen spirits: inside the fight to reclaim native America’s culture  E98 .M34 C65 2017 
Growing up Native American: an anthology  E98 .C5 G76 1993 
Shapeshifting: transformations in Native American art  N6538 .A4 S53 2012 
Here first: autobiographical essays by Native American writers  E89.5 .E84 2000 
Blue dawn, red earth: new Native American storytellers  E98 .F6 B59 1996 
The land looks after us: a history of Native American religion  E98 .R3 M333 2001 
Skull wars: Kennewick man, archaeology, and the battle for Native American identity  E77.9 .T54 2000 
Thundersticks: firearms and the violent transformation of native America  E98 .W2 S55 2016 


The following books are about the Powhatan Confederacy: 

Book  Call Number 
Powhatan foreign relations, 1500-1722  E99 .P85 P683 1993 
The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: their traditional culture  E99 .P85 R68 1989 
Pocahontas’s people: the Powhatan Indians of Virginia through four centuries  E99 .P85 R67 1990 
Pocahontas and the Powhatan dilemma: an American portrait  E99 .P85 P5797 2004 
Powhatan’s world and Colonial Virginia: a conflict of cultures  E99 .P85 G54 1997 
Before and after Jamestown: Virginia’s Powhatans and their predecessors  E99 .P85 R66 2002 
Did Pocahontas save Captain John Smith?  F229 .S7 L47 1992 
Love and hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the heart of a new nation  F234 .J3 P68 2003 

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