- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
Obama eyes sacred Va. Indian site as US park unit
Question of the Day
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Land along the York River that archaeologists believe was the center of a vast Indian empire before the first Europeans settled in Virginia is gaining White House attention as a possible addition to the National Park System.
President Barack Obama has set aside $6 million to acquire more than 250 acres of the former Indian village in Gloucester to achieve that goal. Congress must approve the funding in the 2015 funding proposal.
Called Werowocomoco (pronounced Wehr-oh-woh-KAHM-uh-koh), the land is believed to have been the seat of power for Powhatan.
Powhatan oversaw an empire that included 30 political divisions and 15,000 to 20,000 Indians at the time Capt. John Smith and his fellow settlers established the first permanent English settlement in North America in 1607. Some Virginia Indians have called the site “our Washington, D.C.”
It is also believed to be where Pocahontas appealed to Powhatan, her father, to spare the life of Smith. That story has its share of skeptics, however. Some historians believe Smith may have misinterpreted Indian intentions or inflated his adventures in the New World.
Archaeological digs have revealed a longhouse befitting the stature of Powhatan and the outlines of ditches that experts believe delineated sacred and secular portions of Werowocomoco, also indicative of Powhatan’s stature.
Archaeologists worked with descendants of Indian tribes to understand the site. Some 58 acres have already been preserved to ensure they’ll never be developed.
Archaeologist Martin Gallivan helped lead a dig at the site and is working on a book on the Algonquian chiefdoms, including Powhatan. Making the site a unit of the federal park system would elevate it to the status of other important American historic destinations, such as Jamestown and Yorktown.
“I think it deserves that status given the events that occurred there in the early Colonial period and the deeper history of the Powhatans,” said Gallivan, a professor of archaeology at the College of William and Mary. “If it was included in the national park system that would give the American public the chance to learn that history.”
The National Park Service would work closely with tribes and others on how to best interpret the site, a spokeswoman said.
“That planning would have to consider the best approach for visitor experiences while at the same time protecting the archaeological and spiritual significance of the place,” spokeswoman Cindy Chance wrote in an email.
If approved, the funding would be used to purchase the land from the existing owners and for interpretive materials, such as brochures and signs.
Werowocomoco would become a stop along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The trail charts the exploration of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by Smith after Europeans arrived at Jamestown in 1607.
Chance said the site has been on the park service’s radar.
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is 'torture'
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ready for different route to title
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq