Werowocomoco view

Mattaponi Tribe

Honoring Our Ancestors and Culture
Reclaiming Self-Determination and Sovereignty

About Mattaponi Tribe

No right is more sacred to a nation, to a people, than the right to freely determine its social, economic, political and cultural future without external interference.  The fullest expression of this right occurs when a nation freely governs itself.  We call the exercise of this right Self-Determination.  

The practice of this right is Self-Governance.

The Mattaponi People will move forward accordingly, as a Sovereign Nation and Self-Governing Tribe.

"The members of the tribe who expressed their views in a free and fair election last Saturday and approved a new constitution unanimously that prohibits discrimination and protects their free speech rights remain open to working to unify the tribe under leadership elected in a free and fair election in which all tribal members can participate, not just the elected few allotted land on the reservation.  It is time for an end to the exclusionary and secretive practices of the past.  Our goal is a future in which all participate and no one is left behind or left out."

~ Chief Lionel "Wise Spirit" Custalow

Nokomis & Raven Circle Dance

For far too long, Mattaponi tribal descendants have been denied membership, shunned and rejected by the past tribal leadership.  In 2021, the Mattaponi Tribal Citizens for Change organized and changed the course of history for the tribe by holding the first open and fair election in 2022, the first in nearly 40 years.  The previous tribal administrations were self-appointed and NOT elected by the tribal people.  Consequently, their desire to retain total control of the tribal entity and land resulted in cutting off ties with tribal descendants, except for their own immediate families, in order to maintain their control.


Under the new leadership of Chief Lionel Custalow and Assistant Chief Gloria Custalow and their Council, the Mattaponi tribal descendants are coming home to the tribe again.  ALL TRIBAL DESCENDANTS ARE WELCOME IN THE MATTAPONI TRIBE.  The time has come for us to expand our circle to include all of the tribal people, honor our ancestors, grow our community, preserve our lands and celebrate our culture again.  Our tribe has many gifted keepers of our traditions.  These traditions are meant to be shared with all, especially the next generations.


Mattaponi people come home and reclaim your place within the tribal family.  We will work together to move forward from the devastating past by building a strong foundation for the future. The Mattaponi Tribe will prosper and flourish again.  Download and read our first ratified tribal constitution, where it protects members from discrimination, while it provides a balance of power to ALL members.  Join today by downloading your application and returning it to the Tribal Enrollment Committee.

Tribal Enrollment is Temporarily Closed
row of feathers

From left: red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon, killdeer, Steller’s jay (top), varied thrush, red-shouldered hawk, northern spotted owl, turkey vulture, turkey, golden eagle, bald eagle, great blue heron, white pelican, American crow, great horned owl, Cooper’s hawk, scrub jay (top), sapsucker, meadowlark (small pair), red-shafted flicker (top), American kestrel (brown & black), acorn woodpecker (black & white), barn owl. (Photo by Todd Pickering)