As a final step in a massive four-year preservation and legal battle to protect Native American sacred ground, the James River Water Authority (JRWA) has voted to choose an alternate site for its water supply project, protecting the sanctity of Rassawek, the historic capital of the Monacan Indian Nation and an important ancestral burying ground.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been one of the key advocates in the struggle to save Rassawek, participating in federal review processes and advocacy campaigns to preserve this historic site, as well as placing Rassawek on the 2020 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
After a hard-fought legal battle and massive public response in support of saving Rassawek, the JRWA changed course and worked with the Monacan Indian Nation to study a potential alternative site for the pumping station, and on March 16, they voted to move the plant to an alternate location. They also have agreed to facilitate transfer of the JRWA’s parcel at Rassawek to the Monacan Tribe.
This marks a victory for the Monacan people and for all Tribal Nations striving to protect their sacred lands, and we support the precedent that the JRWA has set in working with the Monacan leadership to make this important decision.
In moments like this, we celebrate who we were in the past, who we are today, and who we hope to become in the future. Congratulations to the Monacan Indian Nation and our preservation partners in Virginia for helping to protect and tell the full American story.