Our Search for Land

Hello Tiospaye (Family)

We have recently been guided to possible sources for land for the community. I have contacted a small list of People who may be able to help us. I’m not sure where this will lead but I do believe it was the Creator’s will to make contact with these people and see what happens. The Chief asked me to post this so that everyone is aware of what we sent. Please add your voice to our prayers as these letters arrive in the hands of the people who were contacted. Thank you.

Copy of Letter sent

Dear Sirs,

I’m writing to you on behalf of the Inter-Tribal Council of Southwest Virginia. Principal Chief Perry “Grey Wolf” Wilson was the founder of the Drums of the Painted Mountain Powwow and the Inter-Tribal Council of Southwest Virginia. The Inter-Tribal Council, along with Southwest Virginia Community College sponsor the Powwow held at the college each year.  He also worked, in conjunction with Crab Orchard Museum, to get back the bones of our ancestors, who were found when the highway was put in. Most of these bones have been returned to Mother Earth at the re-enactment site across from the museum, thanks to both parties.

Since Mr. Wilson’s passing back in October, 2012. His grandson, AJ “Red Bear” Phillips and I, Audra Phillips, have continued giving leadership to the Council. Red Bear was voted Principal Chief in May, 2013. He and I decided to, not only carry on the vision of his grandfather, getting the rest of the bones back from the Smithsonian, but also to create community amongst the Natives that currently reside in the area. We began with the already established list of members and have since tripled in size.  We have a vision of having land where we can teach and be taught Native ways, where we can have a community garden and provide one another with support in an increasingly difficult economy.  If we don’t teach our young about their heritage, this way will die out. This would be a great loss for the people. Since we are inter-tribal we welcome all nations to come and teach or learn about the different traditions.

We have been praying for a place where we can hold our meetings and ceremonies. We have prayed to the Creator to bless us with property where we can have a community center of sorts, where we can sing our prayers and not disturb anyone. Chief “Red Bear” drives by the building located at 20942 Governor GC Peery Hwy, Tazewell, VA, I believe it was once the Hunter’s Den. He asked that I make inquiries about its availability. When I couldn’t find any information online, I went to the Commissioner of Revenue’s office and they gave me your information as someone that I might be able to contact about land that would suit our needs. The woman I spoke to was very helpful and believed you might have some land that would be ideal for our community’s needs. . I am writing to you to see if you have any property that is available and what you would need to allow us to use it for our community meetings and gatherings.

We are just getting started on this particular path in life and are trying to come up with ways the community can help one another to make ends meet. We set up a booth at the powwow to start making money for the Community and have since sold some of our communities “hand-crafted, Native American” items to the Museum and are possibly going to be getting some things into the Art Center as well. The right property could possibly give us a place to craft these items. We would like a place to set up for meetings and gatherings where we can leave items for the next meeting and not have to pack everything up every time we leave. The college has generously offered to allow us to use their facilities, free of charge, for our meetings. We cannot adequately follow our ways and beliefs confined to a public place, such as this. Not to mention having to pack everything up at the conclusion of every meeting.

I feel the Creator led me to your information for a reason and hope that this letter finds you with many blessings and perhaps some answers to our prayers. Thank you very much for your time and we look forward to hearing from you. You can contact either Chief “Red Bear” on his cell phone 484-553-2564 or either one of us at our home phone 276-991-6215. Again, thank you for your time.

Sincerely, Audra Phillips