The Pamunkey tribe, headed by Chief Powhatan, had lived on the land that now is Virginia long before European exploration began. Like most other American tribes, they were matrilineal, which meant that children inherited their status from their mothers. One effect of this was that no child ever was considered a bastard, and maternal uncles were at least as important as fathers. The mother was considered the owner of any non-communal property that a family might possess. Another indication of the high status of women was that when a married couple separated, it was the man who would go home to his mother.