Monacan Indian Nation aiming to preserve Rassawek
FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Cultural Heritage Partners is representing the Monacan Indian Nation to help preserve Rassawek at the Point of Fork in Fluvanna County, where the James and Rivanna rivers meet.
The James River Water Authority is looking to install a water pump at the site that would supply water to the Zion Crossroads area of Louisa and Fluvanna counties.
The project is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Rassawek was the capital of Monacan Indian Nation.
"Settlers came and set up Jamestown, so this is not really a contemporary Jamestown, but it was larger, much more populated important culturally at the time and it remains important," said Greg Werkheiser, a lawyer with Cultural Heritage Partners.
He has been working on the issue for months and he said the issue with the project came down to two issues, profit over people and environmental racism.
"George Washington happened to spend one night in this house, let's preserve this house, but when it comes to the tens of thousands of years that native people have lived here and left their places and their people and the landscape, the burden of convincing people that that is valuable and preserving for all of our benefit not just because tribal people are interested in it, it's a high burden," said Werkheiser.
Preservation Virginia recently listed Rassawek as one of Virginia's most endangered sites because of the project.
He said other options need to be explored so Rassawek can be preserved.
"There are about 12 to 15 alternatives that the James River Water Authority has said that are feasible from an engineering standpoint perspective to not go through and destroy Rassawek," said Werkheiser.
He believes it's important to hold those agencies accountable so Rassawek and other historic landmarks can be preserved.
"One day it's a Native American site, the next day it's a colonial site and the next day, it's something else that someone feels should be preserved. and so it's important for all of us to hold the federal agencies accountable," said Werkheiser.
The project is in a public comment period until June 7.
Click on this link if you would like to comment on the project.