Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The DC Acknowledgement of the Anacostan People

Here is the text of a basic Acknowledgement of the Anacostan People of Washington, DC that was composed with the guidance of Chief Jesse James Swann Jr, of the local Piscataway Conoy Tribe. Please pass it on to organizations who may like to use it to open their meetings.
We acknowledge that this meeting is taking place on the traditional land of the Anacostan People of the Piscataway Tribe.
And here it is when it was first used on Oct 8, 2019 by City Councliman, David Grosso

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bolling Plans to Add Native History to It's Website!

Today, Abigail Meyers, an associate PR person at Bolling, called to inform me that the Base is working on adding information on it's Native history to the Base website !

It probably won't be more than 1 or 2 paragraphs, but even that will be much greater than zero!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

1936 News Reports on the Anacostan Remains Emailed to Bolling Base


Dear Ms Kelty,
Attached are 3 news articles from 1936 reporting on the Anacostan remains that were found on the Base.
The source of these items and a more extensive discussion of the ossuaries found at Bolling can be found in this 1999 book by Dennis Curry, Feast of the Dead: Aboriginal Ossuaries in Maryland.
Until you correct me about the absence of any historical markers on the Base regarding its extensive Native history, I will continue to discuss it as I have in this recent letter in the Washington Post (attached).
Best wishes,
Armand Lione, Ph.D.
DC Native History Project

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Where to find the latest updates about the DC Native History Project

This blog, started in 2016, includes the basics that led to the collection of volunteers who now form the DC Native History Project.

During the last month, there have been a number of developments relating to the commemoration of the Anacostans on Capitol Hill and in DC.
- Garfield Park Native History Day
- Presentations on Anacostan history to the students of Gonzaga High School and UDC.
- Comments on the content of the new ATT GW CITT app, A Guide to Indigenous DC, led to this letter on Sept 7, 2019 in the Washington Post (p. A 17).

Details and pictures from the above events can be found on this link.
Some double postings may be done in the future, but checking the Facebook page for the
DC Native History Project will probably get you the quickest updates for new events.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Where is the Story of the Anacostan Indians at the Anacostia Community Museum?

On Monday, 8/12, I sent this email to the new director of the Anacostia Community Museum. I was impressed by her prompt and considerate response as well as a call from their PR director, Marcia BairdBurris!

Dr. Melanie Adams, Director, Anacostia Community Museum
Dear Dr. Adams,
Congratulations on your appointment as Director of the Anacostia Community Museum (ACM)!
This letter is to encourage new programing at the museum to tell the story of the Anacostan Indians, the Natives who once walked the ground under the museum and gave their name to the river, the community and the museum.
The links below will detail the efforts made by the DC Native History Project to promote recognition of the Anacostans in Washington, DC. I am happy to offer the ACM free use of all the information in the Once As It Was DC map, an interactive map of major historic Native American sites around Washington! I've also attached an article that gives the detailed literature references for all the information on the map. Perhaps you would like to use it online as is, but I'm sure that a staff with some training could improve on the contents. Correct me if I'm wrong, but based on a review of exhibits listed for the museum online, the last exhibit that mentioned the history of the Anacostans was THE ANACOSTIA STORY which ran from March 6, 1977 – January 8, 1978.
Please be in touch for more information about any of the lengthy items in this short email and call on me to be of assistance for any programing that the museum may undertake to expand telling the story of the Anacostans. I'm sure Chief Jesse James Swann (also cc'd here) of the local Maryland Piscataways would also be available to act as a resource for your work.
Sincerely yours,
Armand Lione, Ph.D., Director
DC Native History Project, 202.487.7092
PDF " Why Did the Anacostan Indians Choose to Live on Capitol Hill? "

Her reply, that evening:

Dear Dr. Lione:
 Thank you for the warm welcome and the suggestion for programs related to the Anacostan Indians.

I agree that we need to be sharing the story of everyone who called DC home (even before it was called DC). We are currently working hard to prepare the museum for our re-opening later this fall.  I will share your idea with our program team and keep your generous invitation to serve as a resource in mind as we move forward.

Melanie A. Adams, PhD

Monday, June 3, 2019

National Park Service Awareness of Native History of DC

June 3, 2019

Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini, Acting Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242

During the last 3 years I've been collecting the largely untold stories of the Native people of Washington, DC.

You can review my collected work in the following links:

It's been a source of frustration that so little is said about our Native people, particularly the absence of their story at the National Museum of the American Indian, both at the museum and on the Museum's website.

These were the people who once walked the land under the museum and had a village site, identified in the 1880s, only a few blocks away.

I appreciate that some of the few places around the city, such as Roosevelt Island and Anacostia Park, the NPS has acknowledged the Natives people of DC!

On a recent Saturday night I attended the rehearsal for the Capitol Memorial Day show. During one of the longer breaks in the night, I chatted with a NPS officer who had lived in DC for more than 10 years. Asking if she knew the name of the native people of Washington, she thought and said, “No.”

Please try the test yourself on others in the NPS and see how many can name our Native people!

This isn't a new issue. The opening chapter of "Chocolate City (2017)" recounts how, around 1800, Thomas Jefferson asked about "the name of the Native Americans who lived along the Eastern Branch, no one could answer him." I've found that Andrew Ellicott later wrote Jefferson and recalled his question from a “few years ago,” and told him the answer.

Please consider what orientation you currently give to NPS staff and officers in the Washington, DC area, regarding the Native people of this area. I would welcome information on how unusual my experience was and how the materials given to staff actually do review this basic history.

Sincerely yours,
Armand Lione, Ph.D.
DC Native History Project
Washington, DC

PS. Not being sure who at the NPS might be involved in this educational matter, I've ccd several others at NPS.