Created: May 10, 2022

“I don’t think it happens enough, where we get an opportunity to share with others what we want you to know about us.”

Nottoway tribal citizen Rufus Kelly III describes why he decided to contribute to the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia entry on Encyclopedia Virginia. This entry is part of Encyclopedia Virginia's long-term approach to content development that prioritizes collaboration with Virginia Indian tribes. Entries providing overviews of recognized tribes and recent tribal history will be written by tribal members or by scholars with a record of positive collaboration with tribal communities. The Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia entry was collaboratively written by four tribal citizens, including Kelly. This interview was recorded by Miranda Bennett.

Chief Allston typically will share information with us, things that are going on. And she will approach different tribal citizens, you know, with projects or information that she thinks we’d be interested in or might have a facility for. And so, I’m one of the people in the tribe—I’m very hawkish on making sure that the information that is out there about Nottoway people is accurate. It really bothers me when I see things that are misleading or incorrect or incomplete. That’s like a hot button issue for me. And Chief Lynette knows that about me. And you know I’ve tried to really understand who we are as a people and understand our history and be able to share that with others. I think that’s important. So she told me that Encyclopedia Virginia wanted to do an entry for Nottoway people. So that was big news. That was exciting. And she asked me if I was interested in working on it. When Chief Lynette asks you, you know, it’s not something that I would typically refuse lightly or at all, if I could. So, when she said that to me, I was like yes. I was like absolutely. I don’t think she actually fully got it out before I was on board. I was excited about the opportunity to really share a little bit more about our story. And what made it compelling to me was that Encyclopedia Virginia was reaching out to Nottoway people and asking us to share our story in our words from our perspective. That is wonderful. I don’t think it happens enough where we get an opportunity to share with others what we want you to know about us.