Opinion | D.C. once had an Indigenous queen, Cockacoeske, the Queen of Pamunkey. Remember her story.
D.C. once had an Indigenous queen. Her name was Cockacoeske, the Queen of Pamunkey. She lived from 1610 to 1686. During that time, area tribal leaders attended an intertribal “caucus” convened at the site of today’s Capitol Hill, where they met to establish mutually beneficial tribal rights. Powhatan, the paramount chief of the Powhatan Paramountcy (and the father of Pocahontas), was known to have attended the caucus gatherings in his lifetime. Queen Cockacoeske was denied the opportunity to attend caucus gatherings because of increased violence from English settlers.
Queen Cockacoeske also had extended kin in the area. One of Powhatan’s wives was a Tauxenent Indian female. Their son was named Taux Powhatan to honor her. He and Pocahontas were half-siblings. Queen Cockacoeske’s father was Opechancanough, Powhatan’s brother. Although Queen Cockacoeske had a son named John West, he wasn’t qualified to be paramount chief because of Pamunkey tradition. Queen