Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today I cheated

I'm not sure if I'll burn in hell or not but I'm off to the confessional, anyway. But will the fact I'm not a Catholic bar me? To be fair I have liked most of the Catholics I have met, even though I think the Church has major issues. Father I posted my work blog on my personal blog site because I haven't had time to blog in a personal way. On well here goes...

Hampton's 400th celebrations have concentrated on a lot of feelgood stuff about the harmonious relationships between the city's three main founding cultures; the Europeans, the Native Americans and the African Americans.


The three founding figures will be featured on a permanent memorial in due course.

Reading the overview for next Monday's mini conference at The American Theater in Phoebus, The Day Kikotan Became Hampton, I found myself thinking this might be more of the same.


Three years before a sunny July 9, 1610, the Kikotan Indians first beckoned to some white men whose ships were anchored at Point Comfort.

The Indians escorted the strangers to their nearby village to be feasted and entertained with music and dance.


Forget the hospitality of the Wampanoag Indians to the Plymouth colonists in 1621 that gave rise to a national holiday. The Indians were doing hospitality in Hampton 16 years earlier.


Soon English copper, tools and weapons were being swapped for Indian corn, fresh meat and fish. The good relations continued and around Christmas 1608 the Kikotans sheltered John Smith and his men while icy gales swept round Hampton Roads.


At Jamestown where Smith become governor everyone was having a horrendous time in the winter of 1609-10 known as the "starving time" as Indian hostility reduced the number of colonists from 200 to about 60.


Not so at the Eden that is modern day Hampton. "Residents of brand-new Fort Algernoune at Point Comfort flourished on fresh oysters and fish. They had sufficient abundance to fatten their hogs. Their plethora presumably was supplied by Kikotans," the conference overview material notes.


But in the description of the steamy summer day of July 9, 1610, a serpent enters the Eden.


An English tabor player appeared before the Indian village, rapping a little drum and dancing a jig. It was an accustomed way to issue invitations. the villagers surged forth into the sunlight "expecting a happy surprise."


"Never would they have expected the explosion of musket shot until it ripped their bodies, never did they see shooters hidden in the woods. This was the final day Kikotan was Indian, the first day it began to be English," the overview notes.

In other words the Day Kikotan Became Hampton was one of the first in a long catalogue of events that saw the native people driven from the land they had lived on from 1610 to the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.

Monday's conference which has been organized by the Hampton History Museum Association begins at 6 p.m. The presenters will be Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Helen Clark Rountree, Wayne E. Lee, Stephen R. Adkins, Jeanne McDougall and Bob Zentz.


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1 comment:

  1. Geez, I hope nobody burns in hell for mixing their blog offerings up (otherwise, I'm in trouble). I am not at all surprised by how the Kikotans were treated, of course, David. I have some Cherokee blood in my veins -- and I was raised in the State that oversaw that tribe's bloody, forced relocation via the Trail of Tears, just so we'd have more space for the slave-raised cotton and tobacco crops. The European migration into this continent is sometimes a horrifying history.

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