Experts in the Media – Learn how UMW is doing its part to preserve Indigenous history

Experts in the Media – Learn how UMW is doing its part to preserve Indigenous history Experts in the Media – Learn how UMW is doing its part to preserve Indigenous history

December 10, 20212 min read
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The members of Virginia’s Rappahannock and Patawomeck tribes can trace their roots back to the times before the first European contact. For hundreds of years, their people fished the rivers and inhabited the area near the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers.


It was a rich history and today the efforts to preserve the stories and records of those times are being bolstered by UMW students and faculty. The work was recently featured in a piece by NBC-4 in Washington, D.C.



Professor Lauren McMillan and her students are helping with that mission. King George County economic development officials approached her with an idea to create a Native American heritage trail, hopeful that it would drive ecotourism and draw visitors to public access points.

“The first step that we did was say we need to consult with the tribes whose stories we’d be telling," McMillan said. Then the class did a deep dive.

"We then started diving into the archives, the historical records, oral histories and the archaeological record as well,” McMillan said.

They’ve created signs that will go up in seven different locations in King George. Each one tells a different story about the local tribes, spotlighting the past and present.

“When you learn Virginia history, you learn about a lot of stuff that happened in Jamestown and that’s kind of the last place you learn about Indians in Virginia history, but we've been here all along,” Brad Hatch, a member of the Patawomeck Tribe, said. “We’ve been preserving our own culture and heritage and it's here for everybody to see."

The students worked hard to put that heritage and culture on full display. They also envision their project inspiring others to do some research of their own about Virginia’s first residents. December 07 - NBC News



Indigenous history is a fascinating topic – and one being covered more and more by media. And if you’re a reporter looking to know about the work UMW is doing with of the Rappahannock and Patawomeck tribes or other topics – then let us help.


Lauren McMillan is the University of Mary Washington's resident historical archaeologist and an expert on middle-Atlantic American history. Dr. McMillan is available to speak with media – simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.



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  • Lauren McMillan
    Lauren McMillan Assistant Professor

    Lauren McMillan is the University of Mary Washington's resident historical archaeologist and an expert on middle-Atlantic American history.

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