December 27, 2005
Driving on Route 29 North has never been more educational. Soon a new historical marker will allow drivers to learn about a Native American Indian village that was here before Charlottesville even existed.
"Our culture has been sort of been more or less an invisible culture for so long and now, people are finally seeing that we're here," said Russell Beverly.
Beverly is a Native American Indian that belongs to the Monacan Indian Nation. Although he is only one of the very few Monacan Indians left in what is now called Charlottesville, their name and way of life will live on. In the next few months, the Virginia Historical Society will put up a historical marker just like this one for their tribe.
Soon driver on Route 29 North will be able to learn a little bit more about and Indian village that at one time hugged the Rivanna River.
"500 years ago if you looked down here you could see a line of wigwams. This was basically one part of the village here, which extended all the way up the river," explained Beverly as he pointed out the landscape.
Beverly has been teaching about his culture for years. He recently built a living history museum at Agnor Hurt Elementary School. Along with his brother and son, they built the Indian village on the school lawn to show the kids what it would look like if the kids walked into their village five centuries ago.
"It's something for my children to carry on, it's important for my children to know their culture,” said Beverly.
It's important for Charlottesville residents to know who they once shared their land with.
VDOT is still not sure where exactly they want to safely place the marker on Route 29, but once the site is confirmed, it should take about three to six months for the marker to be complete.