Indigenous Perspectives: Exhibition Events

Exhibition-Related Events

All events are free and open to the public at the Library of Virginia. Some events require registration.

Limited free parking is available in the Library’s garage under the building.

Panel Discussion | The Centennial of the Passage of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924

View the March 20, 2024, recorded discussion about Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act on the Library of Virginia’s YouTube channel.

March 20, 2024 marked the centennial of the date the Racial Integrity Act was signed into law. This legislation was designed to stop the “intermixture” of white and Black people in Virginia. The act banned interracial marriage and defined a white person as one “with no trace of the blood of another race.” For Indigenous Virginians, the Racial Integrity Act began a paper genocide that eliminated them from Virginia’s written records. 

Gregory Smithers, Ph.D., professor of American history at Virginia Commonwealth University, moderated the discussion with First Assistant Chief Wayne Adkins of the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chief Lynette Allston of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, Assistant Chief Louise “Lou” Wratchford of the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe and Chief Robert Gray of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. 

“Union Tooth and Nail”: Pamunkey Indians and the Civil War

Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

View the April 24, 2024, recorded presentation on Pamunkey Indians and the Civil War on the Library of Virginia’s YouTube channel.

Anthropologist Ashley Spivey, Ph.D., a citizen of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, discussed the Pamunkey engagement in the Civil War as Union veterans and supporters. Indigenous people played pivotal roles in the unfolding of Virginia’s history, engaging in the economic, political, social and cultural events that have shaped the commonwealth. Learn why the Pamunkey chose to support the Union and the various roles they played during the Civil War in Virginia. Pulling from their intimate knowledge of the riverine landscape, Pamunkey men served as pilots and scouts on Union gunboats that traversed Virginia waterways. Pamunkey women held ground on the reservation, working to aid Union soldiers who encamped near the community throughout the war.

Book Talk with Lora Chilton | 1666: A Novel

Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

View the May 8, 2024, recorded book talk with Lora Chilton on the Library of Virginia’s YouTube channel.

Author Lora Chilton discussed her new work of historical fiction, 1666: A Novel, the survival story of the Patawomeck tribe of Virginia. Chilton, a member of the Patawomeck through the lineage of her father, used written colonial records and tribal oral tradition to imagine the lives of the Patawomeck women who were sold into slavery and shipped to Barbados to work in the sugar fields after the massacre of the tribe’s men in the summer of 1666. Against all odds, two women survive and, with determination and bravery, make their way back to their Virginia homeland. Chilton discussed her use of Indigenous names and some of the Patawomeck language in the book, as well as her motivation for writing the novel. A book signing followed the talk.

Book Talk with Jessica L. Taylor | Plain Paths and Dividing Lines

Date: Thursday, June 27, 2024

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Register for the event here (required).

Join us for a lunchtime talk as historian Jessica L. Taylor, Ph.D., discusses her book, Plain Paths and Dividing Lines: Navigating Native Land and Water in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. The book follows the Native peoples and the newcomers who crossed emerging boundaries surrounding Indigenous towns and developing English plantations in the 17th-century Chesapeake Bay. A book signing will follow the talk.

Algonquian riverine networks continued to define the watery Chesapeake landscape even as Virginia and Maryland planters erected fences and forts, policed unfree laborers and Native neighbors, and dispatched land surveyors. At the same time, escaping indentured and enslaved people resisted subjugation using Native networks and their own alternative visions of freedom and connections in the colonial Chesapeake. 

For more information contact Ashley R. Craig at or 804.692.3001.