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The Pamunkey nation are one of eleven Virginia Indian tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The historical tribe was part of the Powhatan paramountcy, made up of Algonquian-speaking tribes. The Powhatan paramount chiefdom was made up over 30 tribes, estimated to total about 10,000-15,000 people at the time the English arrived in 1607. The Pamunkey tribe made up approximately one-tenth to one-fifteenth of the total, as they numbered about 1,000 persons in 1607. When the English arrived, the Pamunkey were one of the most powerful groups of the Powhatan chiefdom. They inhabited the coastal tidewater of Virginia on the north side of the James River near Chesapeake Bay. The Pamunkey is one of only two tribes that still retain reservation lands assigned by the 1646 and 1677 treaties with the English colonial government. The Pamunkey reservation is located on some of its ancestral land on the Pamunkey River adjacent to present-day King William County, Virginia. The Mattaponi reservation, the only other in the state, is nearby on the Mattaponi River. The Pamunkey tribe has successfully adapted for continuation through the centuries.
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