Virginia Indians arrive in UK to commemorate 400 years since English settlement

A group of Virginia Indians arrive in Gravesend, England – the resting place of Pocahontas – tomorrow to start commemorations of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English-speaking settlement in the New World.

‘As well as commemorating an extremely important historical event, the Jamestown anniversary should serve as a reminder of the devastation visited on North American Indians over the last 400 years. Incredibly, this process continues today – the Innu of eastern Canada, who are related to the Virginia Indians, are being robbed of their land in the twenty-first century,' said Survival's director Stephen Corry today.

Over the last 40 years, the Innu have been moved from their land and made to live in settled communities. The new communities are marked by extremely high levels of alcoholism, petrol-sniffing amongst children, violence, and record levels of suicides.

The visiting Virginia Indians will take part in the Virginia Indians Festival in Kent, visiting schools, churches and the University of Kent, before meeting with UK parliamentarians in London. Their visit is the first of an official Virginia Indian delegation to England in over 250 years.

Three ships sailed from London in December 1606, landing in Virginia in April 1607. Jamestown was founded soon after. The visit of the Indians marks the start of a series of commemorative events in England and the USA throughout 2006 and 2007. The UK's events are being coordinated by Kent County Council; for more information, click here.

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]