Rappahannock River Property Donated Back to American Indian Tribe

A piece of land near the Rappahannock River has been returned to its original owners, the Rappahannock Tribe, thanks to a U.S. Senator and the Chesapeake Conservancy.

Former U.S. Sen. John Warner embraces Rappahannock Tribe Chief G. Anne Richardson                                   Photo:  Peter Turcik/Chesapeake Conservancy

Retired U.S. Senator John Warner, a Virginia Republican, and his daughter, Ms. Virginia Warner, worked with the Conservancy to donate nearly an acre of land on Carters Wharf Road in Warsaw, Virginia. The land is located near the public boat landing at Fones Cliffs along the Rappahannock River. It will become a staging area for the Rappahannock Tribe’s Return to the River program, an effort to get the tribe’s youth involved in their ancestral traditions, including water-related activities like canoeing, fishing, and camping. The Conservancy also donated a canoe to the tribe.

The Warners officially transferred the ancestral land in a formal presentation that included a ceremonial blessing from Rappahannock Tribe Chief G. Anne Richardson and tribal music.

“This land donation is deeply meaningful for our Return to the River program and will have far reaching impacts for our tribe for generations to come,” Chief Richardson said.”

“The tribe once again has a stake in the land where they lived for hundreds of years before Captain John Smith sailed up the river in 1608,” added Joel Dunn, Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO.

The Tribe was forcibly moved from the banks of the Rappahannock in the 17th century, according to research by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Now, the Rappahannock Tribal Center is located at Indian Neck in King and Queen County, Virginia.