Author: Historic Nottoway Tribe


Spotswood’s Treaty with Nottoway (February 27, 1714)

This treaty established the terms of the relationship between the historic Nottoway Tribe, represented by Ouracoorass Teerheer, and the colonial government, represented by Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood. For years, colonists had been flouting the Treaty of Middle Plantation (1677) by encroaching upon Nottoway territory and the territory of neighboring tribes. This colonial settlement was legalized when the House of Burgesses lifted the Blackwater boundary law, opening land beyond the Blackwater River to colonists. The new treaty affirmed the land rights of the Nottoway, reduced though they were. Two state-recognized tribes descend from the tribe that signed this treaty with Spotswood: the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia and the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe.

The treaty is dated February 27, 1713. This date reflects the Old Style calendar that preceded the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the colonies in 1752. According to the old calendar, the new year began on March 25, rather than January 1; thus, the signing of the treaty is listed as having occurred in 1713. Under the current calendar, however, the treaty was signed in 1714.


“Nottoway Indians: Petition.” (December 11, 1821)

In this 1821 petition, Wané Roonseraw (also known as Edith or Edy Turner), a leader of the historic Nottoway Tribe, and other tribal members request that the General Assembly distribute the remaining segment of the initial 44,000-acre Nottoway Indian reservation into individual descendant ownership allotments. Roonseraw is appealing to European notions of private property as a foundation for capitalism when she argues that the collectively held land couldn’t be the basis for surplus production. Roonseraw made this petition at a time when the government-appointed trustees of the Nottoway Tribe were selling off their lands, threatening the involuntary ejection of the Nottoway people westward.