They call themselves the háu lu wi, meaning “people who greet the sun.” The paleface calls them Halooie. Having no written history, what we know of them derives from oral tradition and conjecture.
While the Native Americans encountered by early English settlers in Tidewater Virginia spoke an Algonquian tongue, linguists tell us the lively patois of the Halooies is a Siouan dialect. This observation lends support to a widely held belief that the Halooies descended from a rogue band of Tutelo-Saponis of the Manahoac Confederacy, who, in response to English encroachment above the fall line in the mid 1730s, split off from their brethren and ventured east in search of a new homeland.
The place they settled was a wooded, fertile plateau above the Holmes Run Valley. Originally dubbed “Halooie Hill” by the palefaces, today we know it as “Seminary Hill” for the Virginia Theological Seminary located there since the mid 19th Century. Once within the borders of Fairfax County, the region was annexed by the City of Alexandria in 1952 and has since become a fashionable quarter of the City’s “West End,” only minutes by automobile from our Nation’s Capital.
The Halooies were a peaceable people who lived a hunter-gatherer existence made possible by their extensive knowledge of edible berries and skill at making a nutritious pemmican from pounded acorns and gray squirrel meat. A distinguishing characteristic of Halooie culture was their maintenance of raked trails throughout their woodlands. In the early years, their only enemies were the ȟunipšit or “Juniprites,” a fearsome rival tribe living to the southwest, a remnant of the Algonquian-speaking Tauxenent.
For some history on the important role Halooies played during the American Civil War (1861-1865), see the separate article on this site.
In the 20th Century the Halooies found themselves increasingly hemmed in by suburban sprawl until they occupied only the wooded hillside where their burial ground was situated. Then in 1960 construction began on the new Alexandria Hospital at Seminary Road and Howard Street on the Halooies’ sacred land. Despite the desecration of their burial ground, the Halooies sought to live in peace with their paleface neighbors and managed to do so for more than 15 years. However, in the late 1970s overzealous moped-mounted security guards became aware of the Halooies’ presence and began an effort to displace them from what they termed “hospital property.” Not since the Removal Act of 1830 had such injustice been perpetrated against First Peoples. This time, however, there would be no Trail of Tears.
Radicalized in a way they hadn’t been since the Beaver Wars, the Halooies went on the warpath against the Hospital’s security guards as well as so-called “volunteers” who were well known to be in cahoots with them. The tribe issued their demands to the Alexandria Hospital in the form of an artistically rendered manifesto. Particularly effective was use of CB radios to jam the hospital’s communications and “scream-baiting” to lure security guards outside their safe zone where they could then be disoriented by loud bangs. The easy availability of helium balloons, certain pyrotechnic devices and the popularity of model rocketry during the 1970s worked to the Halooies’ advantage. An operation targeting the Hospital’s underground laundry facilities exposed the security guards’ inability to fend off hit-and-run attacks. No sooner would the Halooies appear than they would melt back into their woodland stronghold where pursuit of them was both futile and dangerous due to numerous maswígmuŋke, or booby traps.
While no decisive battle ever unequivocally determined a victor and no peace treaty was ever signed, the Halooies’ use of these tactics over a multi-year campaign so thoroughly degraded the morale of the Hospital’s security services that the tribe’s territorial claims were acquiesced to in a de-facto manner.
The Halooies are recognized by Wikipedia as one of the unrecognized Indian tribes in the United States and in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As an unrecognized tribe, they are not entitled to any benefits from the State or Federal government. While lack of such benefits has been a hardship, it has also allowed the tribe to lay low and escape the notice of their neighbors for many decades.