Un-Damming the Rappahannock: Blog Post #7

Chief Anne Richardson is the fourth consecutive generation to lead the Rappahannock tribe. She explained that the meaning of the tribes’ name is “the people who live where the water rises and falls.” She then gave a brief history of the tribe pre- and post-colonial contact and the events during the colonial era. She described how the Rappahannock tribe was affiliated with the Powhatan Confederacy during this time. A majority of the interview is focused on the tribe’s relationship with the river and how that relationship has evolved over time. She explains that when the tribe was pushed out of the area, it caused two generations to have little to no experience with the river and that now there is a focus from tribe elders to reestablish this connection. She also voiced an opinion on recent fracking efforts in the area, and in other places around the US. She explained that people should not profit off of something that could potentially be harmful to everyone. I really thought that Chief Anne was interesting and I think that having oral histories like hers are so important because not many people know them and that that history will slowly disappear if we don’t conserve it.

John Tippett was the executive director of the Friends of the Rappahannock from 1995-2014 and oversaw the group’s role in several landmark accomplishments, now he is an adjunct professor/instructor at UMW. When he first got to FOR, they had recently started with the development of removing Embrey Dam. During the video, he explains all of the hurdles that they had to jump through to get the funding for the removal and the number of tests they had to do on the soil. I thought that this was interesting because I didn’t know that gold mining went on in our area. With the removal of the dam, it was considered dangerous and it was often put on the back burner. They started by lobbying at the state level since the local government lacked the funds to have it removed. FOR slowly gained positive moral support from locals. They have hosted various events as well to show locals what they are capable of doing and that the dam was no longer necessary. The dam was successful removed between 2004 and 2005.

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