Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Danielle Moretti-Langholtz


This research examines the social construction of a Virginia Indian reservation community during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Between 1824 and 1877 the Iroquoian-speaking Nottoway divided their reservation lands into individual partible allotments and developed family farm ventures that mirrored their landholding White neighbors. In Southampton's slave-based society, labor relationships with White landowners and "Free People of Color" impacted Nottoway exogamy and shaped community notions of peoplehood. Through property ownership and a variety of labor practices, Nottoway's kin-based farms produced agricultural crops, orchard goods and hogs for export and sale in an emerging agro-industrial economy. However, shifts in Nottoway subsistence, land tenure and marriage practices undermined their matrilineal social organization, descent reckoning and community solidarity. With the asymmetrical processes of kin-group incorporation into a capitalist economy, questions emerge about the ways in which the Nottoway resituated themselves as a social group during the allotment process and after the devastation of the Civil War. Using an historical approach emphasizing world-systems theory, this dissertation investigates the transformation of the Nottoway community through an exploration and analysis of their nineteenth-century political economy and notions of peoplehood.



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