"The Rappahannock Indians once dominated the area of Fones Cliffs, a unique rock formation in Virginia’s Northern Neck".
"For centuries, a Native American tribe considered a large swath of land with cliffs jutting out along the Rappahannock River in Virginia’s Northern Neck as their ancestral heart and homelands.
In their heyday before English settlers arrived, the Rappahannocks — after whom the river is named — lived off the rich, fertile land in the area, known as Fones Cliffs. Maps and writings of English explorer John Smith told of how he narrowly survived an ambush from the Rappahannocks, who tracked his approach from the cliffs while other Indians, armed with arrows, hid among bushes in the wetlands of the valley.
Fast forward and the English settlers forced the Rappahannocks — like dozens of other American Indian tribes — off their land, and they later faced discriminatory policies. Eventually, the Rappahannocks were left with just a fraction of their once-vast lands that they deem sacred.
But through a recent deal with a conservation group, the Rappahannock tribe will regain a last, large part of land — roughly 960 acres — along a four-mile stretch of Fones Cliffs. The land is one of three properties — totaling about 1,600 acres at Fones Cliffs — that tribal leaders, historians and preservationists fought to acquire and protect from development for decades."
Dana Hedgpeth reports for the Washington Post January 20, 2023.