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May 20, 2011

Pamunkey Indian Museum To Receive Queen of Pamunkey Replica Frontlet During Presentation at Colonial Williamsburg Governor’s Palace

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will present a replica of a 17th-century frontlet — thought to be worn as an ornamental headpiece or part of a necklace — to representatives of the Pamunkey Indian Museum at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26 on the Governor’s Palace stage. The original frontlet may have been part of a gift presentation in observance of a 1677 treaty.

Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Colin Campbell will present the reproduction frontlet to a tribal delegation headed by Pamunkey Indian Museum director Ashley Atkins. Colonial Williamsburg’s American Indian Initiative includes ongoing efforts to incorporate Native peoples into the historical narratives told at Historic Jamestowne and in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.

“Colonial Williamsburg is proud to present this remarkable emblem that symbolizes the interconnected histories of two peoples integral to America’s founding,” Campbell said. “The return of the Pamunkey to Williamsburg is an important step in our developing relationships with Native communities and our efforts to increase American Indian programming.”

The frontlet presentation is open to ticketed guests in the Historic Area, weather permitting.

The replica is a reproduction of an original artifact in the collection of Preservation Virginia. The original frontlet was likely made in London of raised, chased and engraved sheet silver, and executed during the reign of Charles II (1660 — 1685). It measures approximately six inches tall and four inches wide and bears no hallmarks or maker’s marks. It is believed to be one of several gifts presented to Cockacoeske, the Queen of the Pamunkey, in observance of the 1677 Treaty of Middle Plantation — which later became known as Williamsburg — between Great Britain and several Indian nations in the Virginia colony. Cockacoeske had assumed her leadership role in 1656 after the death of her husband, Totopotomoy.

The original frontlet may also signify the exchange of tribute between two sovereign nations, Great Britain and the Pamunkey. In accordance with the terms of the 1677 treaty, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe annually delivers tribute — traditionally wild game — to Virginia’s chief executive to this day.

Circular inscriptions on the original frontlet proclaim “Charles the Second, King of England, Scotland, France, Ireland and Virginia” and the French language motto of the Order of the Garter, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (“Evil be to him who evil thinks.”) Across the bottom of the frontlet is inscribed “The Queene of Pamunkey.”

The replica is cast in silver from a mold of the original frontlet prepared by Colonial Williamsburg curatorial and conservation staff. The replica was polished and re-engraved by Historic Trades silversmiths.
The reproduction frontlet will be installed in the Pamunkey Indian Museum at the Pamunkey Indian Reservation in King William County. The Pamunkey Museum is the best known of the Virginia Indian museums and the Pamunkey is the most documented Virginia Indian tribal group.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281