Two Virginia tribes presented Governor Glenn Youngkin with deer for tax tribute

Margaret Minnicks
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Deer presented to Governor Glenn Youngkin for tax tributePhoto bySarah Vogelsong/Virginia Mercury

On Wednesday, November 22, 2023, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin accepted two deer from the Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes during the 346th tax tribute ceremony outside the Governor's Mansion in Richmond. The bucks were the annual tributes of game that dates back to treaties signed in 1646 and 1677.

Mattaponi Chief Mark Custalow presented the governor with a seven-point deer that was shot on the Mattaponi reservation in King William County.

Chief Custalow said:

“It is an honor to be here today to continue our government-to-government relationship with the Commonwealth of Virginia and to continue this tradition that’s been going on for many, many years.”

The other deer, a six-point buck shot on Pamunkey lands, was presented by tribal Councilman Gordon Atkinson.

Governor Glenn Youngkin said:

“It became a stepping stone for the enduring relationship, a relationship that is underscored by the basic principles of unity, peace, and deep respect. Today we honor the ways that the Mattaponi and the Pamunkey tribes have shaped the foundation and inspired the spirit of Virginia and the spirit of our nation.”

Tax tribute

The tax tribute is an important reminder of both the rights of Virginia’s tribes and the state’s obligations to them.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Gee said:

“Today’s ceremony holds immense significance as it reminds us of the strong ties between these tribes and the great commonwealth of Virginia."

Earlier tax tributes

The tax tributes have not always been deer. The tribes have presented Virginia governors with a range of payments over the years. The early tributes required of the tribes were much smaller: 20 beaver skins, six quails, and a wild turkey.

The typical tribute paid by each tribe the day before Thanksgiving this year was a deer. The meat was then distributed to Virginians in need.


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I love pop culture, movies, television, and entertainment. I keep up to date on the latest movies and television shows. I like sharing news about them. I also like sharing information about different foods and their health benefits. I have been a high school teacher and a college professor for over 50 years and an online writer for over 30 years. I have three degrees: BA in English and Literature, MA in Christian Education, and MDiv in Theology. Get to know me through my writing.

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