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Visiting the Monacan Indian Nation Museum

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by Mac Broussard

In March of 2023, I visited the Monacan Indian Nation Museum. The Museum is located in Amherst County, outside of Madison Heights (just outside Lynchburg, VA). Beautiful rolling hills greet you as you enter the tribal lands. The Museum is small and very orderly arranged. There are artifacts and several easy to read posters of different areas and events in Monacan history. The director of the museum shared the history dating back to the wars with the Powhatan peoples. Mrs Parrish, the museum director, celebrated the state recognition in 1987 and federal recognition of 2018. (Shockingly recent!)

Mrs. Parrish also talked about other struggles of her Nation to survive and be recognized, to buy back their land, and to provide for the members of their nation. I was greatly moved, disturbed and upset by the continuing racism she personally has encountered even with visitors coming to the museum. Recently, Mrs Parrish went to give a presentation at her niece’s school after a teacher told her niece that her people weren’t  important enough to be included in a history lesson of Indigenous peoples or American history. I felt outraged to learn of the continuing indignity she and her niece had to endure. Still has to endure! Her story has stayed with me!