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Helen Clark Rountree, professor emeritus of anthropology at Old Dominion University, was quoted in a front-page story in the Tuesday, Dec. 12, edition of the Washington Post about Virginia Algonquian Indians.

In the article, "A Dead Indian Language Is Brought Back to Life," reporter David Fahrenthold notes that the 2005 film, "The New World," stirred interest in the Algonquian language and allowed many Virginia Indians to discover their native tongue.

A faculty member at Old Dominion for 31 years before her retirement in 1999, Rountree is a nationally recognized expert in the study of North American Indian culture. Her unique research, scholarship and field work have provided significant insights about the Powhatan Indians and other tribes in eastern Virginia and on the East Coast.

Rountree's groundbreaking scholarship crossed the boundaries of anthropology to include ethnohistory. The merger of these intellectual streams and methodology has provided scholars, students and the public a comprehensive view of Indian life and culture in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Before Disney Studios turned out its animated hit "Pocahontas" in 1995, Rountree was known for her research primarily among fellow scholars. But almost immediately after the movie's premiere, her name popped up frequently in the media as an expert source on the Indian girl, based on her field work with Virginia's Powhatan and the Western Shoshone Native American tribes.

Rountree received a 1995 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education. With the money she received from the award, Rountree published a children's book later that year, "Young Pocahontas in the Indian World."

Through the years, Rountree's work earned her the trust of local Indian tribes, including the Nansemond and Upper Mattaponi, who made her an honorary member. Her professional associations include a life membership in the American Anthropological Association.

Rountree's list of publications is extensive. It includes four academic books about Virginia Indians. She also was a consultant on "Algonquians of the East Coast" in the Time-Life Books series on American Indian tribes, and was a regional consultant for the first episode of PBS's "Land of the Eagles" series on the Mid-Atlantic region.

To read the Washington Post article, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/11/AR2006121101474.html

This article was posted on: December 13, 2006

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