The Yesah-Saponi Descendants Association (YSDA)

The majority of the state of Virginia is Yesah Native territory as denoted with Siouan below in orange and light purple/gray.  Today there are tens of thousands of people of Yesah Native "descent" still living in their original homelands.  Many of these people know that they have Native ancestry. But almost all identify only as African American.  This is because they have been manipulated into not accepting and identifying as having Native ancestry.  As long as there are no more Natives or people of Native descent title to the land is free and clear to the immigrants that arrived in 1492 and their descendants.

Since 1492, right up until the present, there has been a continuous and sustained effort to reduce and/or exterminate our Native population and DNA either through violence, genocide, holocaust, brainwashing or manipulation.  Or via biased and/or racist record keeping and “official” documentation.  Today it largely goes unnoticed and under the radar but clerks of court and hospitals and other official record keepers at the local level are still participating in the genocide at the local level each day.

Examples: At this link is an example of how in 2010 all of the Natives in Mecklenburg County Virginia, for 200 years, were erased with one action by a clerk of court. Here is another example of an issue from a tribal member:  "When my daughter was born in Farmville VA my wife put down Native American on her birth certificate application.  The white hospital administrator challenged my wife and took the position that my child was Hispanic.  My wife had to be very firm and insistent that the baby was Native and that her birth certificate must say this. My wife is a social worker with her mastered degree and is worldly so she knew what lady was doing and she was not going to accept this mini-genocidal effort."  But how many thousands southern Natives, without the education, position and experience are conned each day into putting down a fake race and thus erasing Natives from the population little by little.

An objective of the Occoneechee-Saponi-Totaro tribe of the Saponi Reservation is to create and maintain The Yesah-Saponi Descendants Association (YSDA) with the objective:

  • To help awaken the people above to their full identity and the power that comes with that identity when on Yesah Native land.

  • To support families and communities who have falsely been labelled as African/Black since approximately 1930 or the early 1900's, who previously were not classified as such and who are actually Native or mixed Native and Black.  And this false classification having been due to the racist one drop rule or false census records, birth records and other records.

  • Acknowledge the existence today of tens of thousands of Yesah (Occoneechee, Saponi, Tutelo and other Siouan) descendants in Virginia and whose family descend from Virginia in the past 150 years or so. 

  • To recognize those with Yesah native ancestry, in Virginia or who descend from Virginia in the past 150 years or so, based upon reasonable or a preponderance of the evidence.

  • To unify people of Yesah Native descent:

    • To advocate for our own unified political power in Virginia.

    • In order to piece together the thousands of individual small pieces of knowledge that was passed down in hundreds and thousands of families, despite the intense efforts to erase all of the Indigenous knowledge of our ancestors  To piece together this knowledge again into coherent whole functional systems.  

    • To link together confidentially the genealogy of the descendants association members. 

  • To teach Yesah Native descendants
    • About their native ancestry
    • About their rights and power in their own homeland.
    • About our peaceful and spiritual ancestors and civilization. 
    • Their Yesah language.
    • Their Yesah ceremonies.

  • To support Yesah descendants in learning their full and true history including pre-1492 history.

  • To facilitate Yesah-Saponi descendants to identify as Native in addition to African American.

  • To begin seeing marrying Native as an viable option, since the future of America is Native with 660 million Natives in America, thus reversing the extermination efforts of the white supremacists.

  • To assist and support members of the descendants association in doing their research and organizing and reforming their tribe for their extended family and community.

  • To increase Yesah descendants confidence in seeing the Yesah territory in Virginia as their homeland, which they always have first rights to, above any new people who came after 1491 

Below is a picture of William Powell of Blackridge VA.  His family in Blackridge lives a few miles from the Saponi Reservation boundary,  The Chief of the approached him at a gas station in LaCrosse VA in January 2024 and asked him if he was Native.  He said, "no I am not".  The Chief questioned him more and said well you look Native.  He said, "well my grand mother was Native."  The Chief asked him well how does that work that your blood grandmother was Native and you are not.  This is the typical brainwashing that the white people have intentionally done in order to ensure that they always have clear title to all Yesah-Saponi lands.  William clearly is Native and Yesah Native based upon his phonotype (native eyes, native hair, native complexion) and the location and history of his family.  He certainly did not get those eyes from China.

There has been a sustained effort since 1492 to suppress the Native population either physically or in the official record keeping or through socialization /brainwashing or a combination of all of these.  This includes unreasonable criteria that one has to meet to prove to state and federal governments that one is Native even though those same governments destroyed the records and worked to destroy the tribes.  And right up until the present works to artificially deflate the Native population.  

Thus criteria for acceptance into the YSDA is based on the same criteria that is used in all other aspects of life.  In science we accept as truth and reality the idea or theory which is supported by the most or the preponderance of the evidence.  In court we find people guilty and sentence them to long prison terms or death based upon the preponderance of empirical evidence. And once found guilty the judge does not qualify their statements.  They state as an unequivocable absolute fact that you are guilty, with no qualifications. In ALL areas of life empirical evidence is the golden rule for determining reality of everything. 

Thus when is comes to determining who is native or Native descendant we must use the same standard as in all other areas of life.  Why must natives have some different and higher standard to meet--that is possible for only a few people to meet?  This is another form of genocide. To be held to a higher standard than anything else in life is blatant racism and white supremacy for purposes of land theft and maintaining possession of stolen Native land.  To support the tighter standards, that white supremacists set for determining who is Native, is to support and continue the genocide and ethnic cleansing that white people perpetrated against Native people since 1492. 

Thus our criteria for determining who is Yesah Native or a Yesah Native descendent is based upon reasonable or the preponderance of empirical evidence.  For example the preponderance of empirical evidence shows that Ralph Travis, pictured below, to be unequivocally Yesah Native based upon his phenotype and the fact that he was born on the Saponi reservation land and has lived their all of his life and his family, who also has significant Native phenotype and has lived there going all of the way back to 1712. 

Additional evidence is great but not necessary to conclude and state without qualification who Ralph Travis is. Likewise with Alise Clay below of Clarksville VA, home of Occoneechee Island and the Occoneechee people.  With her family being from Occoneechee, still living in the area and going all of the way back to the 1700 and 1800s and with her family having significant Native phenotype, it is reasonable to conclude and a preponderance of empirical evidence shows, that she is unequivocally Occoneechee Native.  More evidence is great but again not necessary unless one is intentionally trying to keep the Native population artificially and untruthfully low.


Likewise with Eola Valentine below of Bracey VA community which is a few miles from the Saponi Reservation, Blackridge and Occoneechee Island.

If one is biologically connected to someone or a family who undeniably has significant native phenotype and a preponderance of the evidence shows them to be Native, then this make you a "Native descendent" regardless of how you look or how little Native DNA you have.

Contemporary Native Communities and Descendants

After the reservation closed in 1718 as shown here, our people were looking ways to survive. Some moved to current day Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.  Out of the 600 people on the reservation many moved to other parts of current day Virginia and North Carolina.  Dozens of families and groups ended up in Brunswick County, Mecklenburg County, Lunenburg County, Charlotte County, Nottaway County and all of Southside VA and other parts of our original territory, as documented in numerous writings such as as Kianga Lucas Saponi Indian Cabins” in 1737 and Contemporary Tribal Communities found here.  Some were recorded in Spotsylvania county at one point after the reservation closed. 

On the OSTV page we show the Greentown community who stayed on the Saponi Reservation land represented by Elder Ralph Travis below.

 Below are additional Yesah Saponi communities or families fanned out through the state of VA.  In Brunswick County there was another community called Freetown a few miles to the east of Greentown near current day Ante. McKinley Banks' (below) father was from this community and his mother was from Greentown.


Other Brunswick County VA Yesah Descendants from near the reservation land.

Some Saponi moved further to the east following Ranger Hicks who, was a ranger at Fort Christanna.  Hicks created a planation near current day Emporia.  There are people from Emporia area that descend from Natives from the reservation.                         

There were also Native families in north Brunswick such as Warfield. There are communities in eastern Mecklenburg, close to the Brunswick line, such as Blackridge and Bracey.  Edna Valentine pictured below is a typical person out of the Bracey community.

Names in the Bracey community: Valentine, Harris, Boyd, Macklin, Hendrick, Newell, Richardson, Chavis, Thomas, Harper.

Larry Harris - Bracey


By the 1800's the Coles-Cheraw were in Mecklenburg county Between Boydton-Skipwith and Clarksville VA.


Below are the Mackins also of Boydton.  They were next door neighbors to the Coles shown above.  There are Native Macklin's in Mecklenburg and Brunswick Counties.               


 The Parker-Occoneechee Band is in Clarkville-Occoneechee, Buffalo-Junction area where Ned Bearskin shot a buffalo during the dividing line expedition.   



Clarksville King Family Occoneechee



Nyhassan-Saponi community of Pittsylvania County VA

Further to the west in Pittsylvania county Va is the Yesah Nyhassan-Saponi community of Pittsylvania County Virginia.



Manahoac Tribe

Below are the descendants of the Manahoac Village of 1747 in current day Amherst County.








Boydton Brown Family - Saponi    




 Chavis Saponi



All one has to do is spend a day in Brunswick County or Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Charlotte and all of Southside VA and observe the faces of people going about their daily business to see the Native phenotype strong and alive.  Others went south into our larger territory into South Carolina while others went north into our territory in Ohio.

North Carolina Saponi not part of any NC Tribe 

There are literally hundreds of other families in Virginia with Yesah Saponi ancestry such as:

  • Bowers - Browns Boydton
  • Harris - Clarksville
  • Coles - Fairfax
  • Fullenwider
  • Macklins - Boydton
  • Dardens - Boydton
  • Warfield community - Brunswick County
  • Freeman community - Brunswick County
  • Crutchfields - Amherst and Mecklenburg County
  • Chicken House - Boydton
  • Lewis family - Clarksville
  • Roberts Family - Clarksville
  • Chase city - Keens, Sallys, Watkins
  • Crutchfields - Boydton
  • Palmer Springs