Powhatan Renape Nation - FAQ

Your most Frequently asked Questions -
answered by the late Chief Roy Crazy Horse.

We regret that we do not have the staff or time to provide individual answers to most of the questions we receive at our website. However, we are pleased to provide here some general answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Tracing My Heritage

QUES: "I believe I am a descendent of the Powhatan Nation. Please send/provide me with information that would help me trace my ancestry."

Tracing Powhatan Ancestry is no different than tracing any ancestry. Unfortunately, we do not have any more information regarding tracing your ancestry than your public library. The public library will have information about researching your family tree. A local genealogy society may also provide some support. If you are successful in finding a link between yourself and the Powhatan Confederacy, or if you can show a relationship with existing members we would be pleased to keep your information on file for the use of others who can show they were linked to your family tree.

Ques: "I am a Powhatan/ a direct descendent of Pocahontas, and would like to register with you. How do I go about doing that?"

We are pleased with your interest in the Powhatan Renape Nation. We hope it will be possible for you to attend one of our cultural festivals in the autumn of each year.

There are, no doubt, many persons who can trace their ancestry back to the Powhatan Confederacy, such as ourselves. In the sixteen or so generations since that time, in each generation, individuals who were descended from a marriage of a Powhatan person and a non-Powhatan person had a choice as to whether he or she wished to take on the identity of one parent or the other. We recognize those choices must have been difficult, given the disadvantages attached to "being Indian" as compared to the struggle of being accommodated within the people of the non-Powhatan parent.

As near as we know, all the descendents of Pocahontas and John Rolfe made the latter choice, continuing in each generation to marry non-Powhatan persons. As a result, the would have approximately one Powhatan ancestor and 16,383 other ancestors - they might say they were 1/16384 Powhatan. Obviously, such persons would have very little claim to membership in today's Powhatan Renape Nation, although we would value their friendship and support.

Assuming the average time between generations is 25 years:
Year Generations Quantum  
1600 1    
1625 2 1/2 a child born in this generation would be 1/2 Powhatan
1650 3 1/4 etc.
1675 4 1/8  
1700 5 1/16  
1725 6 1/32  
1750 7 1/64  
1775 8 1/128  
1800 9 1/256  
1825 10 1/512  
1850 11 1/1024  
1875 12 1/2048  
1900 13 1/4096  
1925 14 1/8192  
1950 15 1/16384 assuming the adult asking the question was born in 1950 or after

Our membership is well known and it is unlikely that you are entitled to membership. However, if you still believe you have an entitlement, please send us a full family tree.

We thank you for your inquiry, and again, we invite you to become acquainted with us through attendance of one of the festivals we hold each year.


QUES: "How can I get more information on Pocahontas?"

Our print resources are unfortunately quite limited. Check your public library for books on the Powhatan Confederacy. Serious students will want to check books by Christian Feast and Helen Rountree.

Reports and Speeches

QUES: "I have to give a report/talk about the Powhatans. Please send me information about your history, religious practices, customs, etc."

Again, our resources are quite limited - we actually do not have very much printed material available. We are however, in the process of expanding this website to include more information. We also do have a short publication on the History of the Powhatan Renape Nation. We would be happy to mail this upon request, for only a very small fee to cover our mailing and printing costs. Sorry we cannot help more - we hope you find your research enjoyable.

Chief Roy Crazy Horse