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The Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia: The Drums of Life

The Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia: The Drums of Life

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The contemporary Monacan Nation had approximately 1,400 registered members in 2006, mostly living in and around Lynchburg, Virginia, in Amherst County, but some are scattered like any other large family. Records trace the Monacans of Virginia back to the late 1500s, with an estimated population of over 15,000 in the 1700s.   Like members of some other native tribes, the Monacans have a long history of struggles for equality in jobs, health care, and education and have suffered cultural, political, and social abuse at the hands of authority figures appointed to serve them. The critical difference for the Monacans was the actions of segregationist Dr. Walter A. Plecker, Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics from 1912 until he retired at age 85 in 1946. A strong proponent and enforcer of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Law of 1924 (struck down in 1967), which prohibited marriage between races, Plecker’s interpretation of that law convinced him that there were only two races–white and colored–and anyone not bearing physically white genetic characteristics was “colored” and that included Indians. He would not let Indians get married in Virginia unless they applied as white or colored, he forced the local teachers to falsify the students’ race on the official school rolls, and he threatened court clerks and census takers with prosecution if they used the term “Indian” on any official form. He personally changed government records when his directives were not followed and even coerced postpartum Indian mothers to list their newborns as white or colored or they could not take their infants home from the hospital. Eventually the federal government intervened, directing the Virginia state officials to begin the tedious process of correcting official records. Yet the legacy of Plecker’s attempted cultural genocide remains. Through interviews with 26 Monacans, one Episcopal minister appointed to serve them, one former clerk of the court for Amherst County, and her own story, Whitlock provides first person accounts of what happened to the Monacan families and how their very existence as Indians was threatened.  

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780817381134
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Publication date: 06/15/2009
Series: Contemporary American Indian Studies
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 221
File size: 9 MB
Age Range: 3 Months

About the Author

Rosemary Clark Whitlock is a Monacan Indian and independent scholar residing in Lancaster, South Carolina, and the author of dozens of articles and four previous books.

Table of Contents

Contents List of Illustrations 000 Preface by J. Anthony Paredes 000 Acknowledgments 000 Introduction by Thomas J. Blumer 000 1. Virginia Monacan Indians 000 2. Chief Kenneth Branham 000 3. George Branham Whitewolf 000 4. Danny Gear 000 5. Lucian Branham--The Patriarch in 1997 000 6. William Sandidge, Clerk of Court 000 7. Dena Branham 000 8. Jo Ann Staubitz 000 9. Lee Branham 000 10. Annie Johns Branham 000 11. Phyllis Branham Hicks 000 12. Thelma Louise Branham-Branham 000 13. Eugene Branham 000 14. Herbert Hicks 000 15. Karenne Wood and Diane Shields 000 16. Sharon Bryant 000 17. Brenda Branham Garrison 000 18. Hattie Belle Branham Hamilton 000 19. Bertie Duff Branham 000 20. Cecil Hamilton Terry 000 21. Ella Branham Mays 000 22. Betty Hamilton Branham 000 23. Lacie Johns Branham 000 24. Cammie Branham Johns 000 25. William Carson Branham 000 26. Heather and Holly Branham 000 27. The Minister 000 28. Rosemary Clark Whitlock 000 Appendices 000 References 000 Index 000

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