Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission Welcomes input of CultureWorks and VCU

-- Commission meeting set for July 28 --

-- Commission charge is to honor the Virginia Indian on Capitol Grounds--

CENTRAL, VA- Virginia Indians will soon be recognized at the State Capitol for their contribution to the Commonwealth. Patroned by Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) and passed during the 2009 session, House Joint Resolution 680 expressed the General Assembly's support for and called upon the Governor to establish a commemorative commission to honor the life, achievements, and legacy of Virginia Indians on the grounds of Capitol Square.

Subsequently, in 2009, Executive Order #100 established the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission.  Its purpose is to honor the life, achievements, and legacy of Virginia Indians on the grounds of Capitol Square. 

“As the representative of several state recognized tribes in the 97th district I believe that we do each citizen honor when we so recognize the achievements of these original Virginians,” said Del. Peace.

In compliance with the Executive Order, the Commission, with assistance from the Executive Branch’s Virginia Council on Indians and Clerks of both houses, held two meetings and is organized to begin the planning process for a Capitol tribute to Virginia’s indigenous people. The next meeting is July 28th at 10 am in House Room C at the General Assembly Building.  The Commission intends to review tributes from other state capitols and learn the “best practices of public art” from a representative of CultureWorks along with reports from various tribal representatives and comments from the general public.

Alice Lynch, Executive Director, Virginia Capitol Foundation commented regarding the compiled list of state memorials that “very few eastern states have anything on the list.  This means that Virginia could be in the vanguard in taking this commemorative action.”

The originating legislation points out that despite hardships brought about by the loss of lands, languages and civil rights, American Indians in Virginia persisted and continued to contribute to the Commonwealth through agriculture, land stewardship, teaching, military and civil service, the arts, and other avenues of productive citizenship.  A memorial to Virginia Indians and their ancestors would remind everyone who visits the Capitol grounds that Virginia Indians' courage, persistence, determination and cultural values have significantly enhanced and contributed to our society for centuries.  Delegate Peace is delighted to have commitments from state recognized tribes to press forward, a very strong majority.

The resolution follows the model of the Moton School commission which recently unveiled the Civil Rights Memorial in 2008.  

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his third term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. The District includes parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County.