Richmond celebrates history of Pocahontas with Native American tribe leaders

Release Date: 20/03/2017

Today, representatives from Native American Tribes visited Richmond upon Thames as part of a commemoration of Pocahontas.

Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a network of tribes in Virginia. An area ‘twinned’ with Richmond upon Thames. She was the first of her nation to convert to Christianity after being captured by English settlers and became an advocate for peace between the English and Native Americans.

She married an early settler, John Rolfe, and travelled to England in 1616. She fell ill whilst attempting to travel back to Virginia and had to disembark in Gravesend where she shortly died.

Organised by the Thames Landscape Strategy, over the next week, Native American chiefs, and US representatives interested in river management and Richmond’s heritage are visiting the UK to pay tribute to Pocahontas. As part of this trip, they will be spending time in Richmond upon Thames. They will be enjoying a walking tour of the borough, visiting our parks, the Kew Museum of Water and Steam, meeting students at Grey Court School and attending a reception with the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames.

They will then attend the formal commemoration at Gravesend, part of a year-long programme of activity to celebrate the impact the Pocahontas has had on their community.

Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Cllr David Linnette, said:

"Pocahontas is a figure we're all familiar with but less is known about her time spent in England. And, whilst she did not have a direct connection with our borough, I am thrilled that through our important relationship with Virginia, we are able to celebrate her life.

“I am glad to have welcomed the representatives from the US today. And, I hope that they enjoy the rest of their time in our beautiful borough.”

Town Twinning is a social agreement between towns, cities, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.

Jason Debney, Co-ordinator of the Thames Landscape Strategy added:

”There is a long standing relationship between the James River in Richmond Virginia with the Arcadian Thames. Pocahontas was born and raised on the banks of the James, before living next to the Thames at Syon whilst on a six month tour of England. She died on the Thames and is buried next to the river in Gravesend. Her story links the two great rivers and the communities that live, work and manage them”.

Updated: 29 June 2017