Dr. Edward Ragan presents research at Sovereign Nations of Virginia conference

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Edward Ragan, student support counselor at Centenary and a historian of the Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia, is a featured research scholar at the 2021 Sovereign Nations of Virginia Conference and Virtual Webinar taking place September 24 in Henrico, Virginia. Ragan’s presentation analyzes several 17th century treaties between the Rappahannock Tribe and colonial governments from a balance of power perspective.

The Sovereign Nations conference brings together scholars and experts in Native American sovereignty from across the country to present both historical and contemporary analysis on sovereignty topics, and provides Tribal and state officials with a chance to discuss and address issues that affect not only sovereign nations but also all citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Ragan is part of a team of four research scholars who have examined the history of treaties between Virginia’s colonial and native governments in an effort to understand both the immediate and long-term effects of the relationships created by these treaties, as well as their continued relevancy in the present.

Ragan’s presentation, “ ‘so long as the sun and moon endureth’: Meaning and Tension in Anglo-Indian Agreements,” analyzes the intent and goals of both indigenous Virginians and colonial governments in the commonwealth when they entered into 17th century treaty arrangements. He will also sketch out a history of ignored treaties, abrogated agreements, and new legal codes imposed by colonial governments throughout the 17th and 18th centuries that eventually displaced many Native communities and restricted their access to land, resources, and legal rights.

“I first became interested in Native American history through a summer internship,” said Ragan. “It forever changed my life and my academic trajectory. My research helped the Rappahannock Tribe gain federal acknowledgment, which means that the Tribe is now able to engage all the historic and cultural recovery projects that the chief and I once envisioned.”

Ragan earned a Ph.D. in history from Syracuse University where his research focused on the early history of the Rappahannock Tribe in Virginia. He has worked directly with the Rappahannock since 1996 and served as the tribe’s lead historian on their federal acknowledgement project. In addition, Ragan has worked with the Rappahannock Chief to develop a community education program for the surrounding non-Indian community and on cultural recovery projects for the native community.

Ragan’s presentation at the conference is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CST/10:30 a.m. EST on Friday, September 24. Virtual registration is available at sovereignnationsva.org.


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