Christmas Indian dance in the woods on the Pamunkey reservation in 1921

The Tribal Laws of the Pamunkey Indian Town

The tribal laws of the Pamunkey Indian Town written on September 25, 1887.

The following Laws made and approved by chief and council men Feb. 18th 1886 for the Ruling of the Pamunkey Tribe of Indians.

1st Res. No Member of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe shall intermarry with anny Nation except White or Indian under penalty of forfeiting their rights in Town.

2nd No non-resident shall be allowed to be hired or sheltered more than 3 months and if anny person are known to hire or shelter anny sutch persons shall pay 50c pr. day for every day over the above mentioned time. Amendment. Should sutch person persons be quiet and agreeable they may be hire 30 or 60 day under good behavior.

Christmas Indian dance in the woods on the Pamunkey reservation in 1921
Fig. 46 Christmas Indian dance in the woods on the Pamunkey reservation in 1921.

3rd Anny person slandering another without sufficient evidence shall be fined in the 1st offence $5 Second $10 and in the 3rd they are to be removed from the place by the Trustees chief and counclemen.

4th No nun-resident shall be taught in our free school except the concent of chief counclmen or any other Indian Tribe.

5th Anny party or person found guilty of stealing anny thing belonging to anny one else they shall pay the party for the amt. that are stolen from them and also shall be fined from $1 to $5. 3rd time they are to be removed from the place.

6th If anny person shall depridate or Trespass on another ons premises and shall break down gates or destroy fences or anny other property shall be made to pay or replace all damages and if any miner are engaged in sutch, their parent shall be responsible for their acts and each and anny that are found guilty Shall be fined from $1 to $5.

7th be it known that each road of Indian Town shall be 30 ft. wide and all person that has moved their fence in the road shall have 30 days to move them out and if they are not moved they are to be moved by the chief and the counclmen and the expense paid by the Trespasser.

8th if anny citizen are notified to attend anny meeting and fails to do so without sufficient excuse shall be fined from $1 to $1.50.

9th be it known that all the citizens age 16 to 60 of Indian Town shall work on the road as far as red hill and anny member refuse to work shall be fined 75c and Jacob Miles to be Road Master and he to be paid $1 pr. year.

10th Be it known that no person be allowed to swear on the high way of Indian Town and if so they are to be fined from $1 to $2. (Amendment) 1st offence 25 2nd 75 3rd 100.

11th Be it known that anny person or persons seen or known to be fighting upon the highways or elsewhere of Indian Town in the Town the one found guilty of first breaking the peace shall be fined not less than $3. nor more than $5 dollars.

12th Resolve that each male citizen of Indian Town owning a piece of land shall pay $1.00 pr. year or the value in produce to the Treasurer of Indian Town yearly for her benefits.

13th be it known that the Hall Sein Shore of Indian Town shall be rented out yearly for the benefit of the Treasury of Indian Town and if anny person are known to set anny obstruction in the way shall be fined $5 in each offence.

14th If anny person owning a piece of land and do not build and live upon it in 18m it shall be considered as town property and the person shall be allowed 20 days to move what they has thereon off; then it shall be considered as Town Property and the Town can allow anyone else the same privilege under the above obligations.

15th Anny person that become rude and corrupt and refuse to be submissive to the Laws of Indian Town shall be removed by the Trustees, chief and counclmen.

16th Anny person that are in debt to the town and refuse to pay the amt. enough of their property shall be sold to satisfy the claim.

17th be it known that we shall have a fence law and it shall be 4 ft. high on a ditch Bank and 5 ft. high on a levil and the holes are to be 1 foot 4 in hole 2 ft. 6 in holes 3 ft. 8 in hole and Remainder to the judgment of the fencer.

18th An amendment to Resolution all male citizens of Indian from 18 year upward shall pay $1.00 pr. year and until the amt is paid they will not be given no land.

Besides these written laws, there are others which have not been committed to writing, the most important of which relate to the tenure of land. The reservation belongs to the tribe as a whole. There is no individual ownership of land. The chief and council allot a parcel of cleared land of about 8 acres to the head of each family. The occupant is generally allowed to keep the land for life, and at his death it goes back to the tribe to be reallotted, unless the deceased should leave helpless dependents, in which case the land is rented for their benefit. The houses on the reservation are individual property and can be bought and sold at pleasure.


Speck, Frank Gouldsmith. Chapters on the ethnology of the Powhatan tribes of Virginia. Indian Notes and Monographs, vol. 1, num. 5, pp. 225-455. Editor: Hodge, F. W. Heye Foundation, Museum of the American Indian. 1928.

Search Military Records - Fold3

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top