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Tribal Truths

Indigenous communities in Virginia have listened to others tell our stories. Now it's our turn. We're debunking myths and legends with fact, teaching about tribal cultures and current issues. This is Tribal Truths.

The pilot episode and first season was produced with financial support from Virginia Humanities.

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  • The Nansemond Indian Nation has a deep connection to the Great Dismal Swamp. Oral histories date back to the late 1800s but then disappear from colonial pressures to assimilate. Still, tribal members who grew up by the Swamp maintain ancestral hunting and trapping traditions. But there is someone who has discovered ancient Indigenous artifacts in the Great Dismal Swamp, some dating back 8,000 years.
  • Calvin and Mac Custalow take their niece, Dawn Custalow, fishing on the Mattaponi River at their reservation. The traditional Easter Sunday service breakfast of shad and shad roe now relies on other fish as the American shad continues to puzzle scientists as to what is causing its decline.
  • The new season of Tribal Truths starts May 18th.
  • Nearly 400 years after the Rappahannock Tribe was forced from their lands, they will finally return as owners to one of their towns on Fones Cliffs.Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, herself a member of the Pueblo Laguna Tribe, spoke during the ceremony.
  • There's a place along the Rappahannock River in eastern Virginia, not far from the Chesapeake Bay, where the Rappahannock Tribe once lived along the copper-white cliffs that rise vertically from the river. The tribe has a deep connection to this place, now known as Fones Cliffs. Rappahannock Chief Anne Richardson and a team of archaeologists are bringing history to the surface, but it's a race against time, development and climate change.Narrated by Steven Nelson, a citizen of the Rappahannock Tribe.This episode was produced with support from Virginia Humanities.