Created By: University of Virginia
We finally settled in the middle of the lagoon, dropped our bags, and began to eat and enjoy the ambience of the river. As I observed families and friends sitting around us, I thought about how communal the space felt. No matter where we came from, we felt like some part of the river was meant to be explored by us, and that we could all experience it in different ways but enjoy each others' passive company.
In my research into the indigeous histories of the James River area, I found a piece of writing by a VCU English student that really stood out to me.
“We know that the tidewater Indians developed religious-type rituals around the all-powerful river that the colonists reported but could not understand. At sunrise and sunset they often bathed in groups, throwing tobacco leaves, especially on waters that were rough or high. The names they gave the river either described a particular place or a tribe that lived nearby, but they did not mark nor even conceive of private or even tribal ownership of their river or the lands that bordered it. For them the river could not be possessed or tamed, but instead lived with, respected, and held in stewardship for future generations.”
The James River has been a place of refuge for so many Richmonders over time. It is a space that we can step into connect with our environment and the unique beauty of our city. We ought to continue to respect and honour the land with the framework indigenous stewards of the land exemplified- treating the beautiful place with a sense of pride, respect and communal responsibility to preserve it for future generations.
This point of interest is part of the tour: AMST 4500: Kamya's Final Project- Tour of Texas Beach