Thursday, December 20, 2018

Offering the Once As It Was Map to the American Indian Museum for Free

Kevin Gover, Director
National Museum of the American Indian
Washington, DC
December 17, 2018

Re: Adding An Interactive site on the Anacostan Natives of DC to the NMAI website

Dear Kevin Gover,

My interest in the Native history of Washington, DC spurred me to create the Once As It Was map of DC ( It is a collection of the major historical sites of the Anacostan Native people of DC. Those sites include the Capitol and the White House.

When I last wrote you in October (attached), the absence of the history of the Anacostans in the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) was contrasted with the excellent segment on the NMAI website that told the story of the Manahatta Natives of New York City. (See link from previous letter at end).

That link is not currently working on the NMAI website and a search for the title or even Natives of Manhattan does not show that pdf file. The original document is still available elsewhere online.*

Nevertheless, I'm hopeful that the NMAI would now see fit to include the story of the Anacostan Indians of DC on its website. I am writing to offer you the contents of the Once As It Was DC website. That material includes an article that has complete documentation for all of the website references.** I'm sure in the hands of your staff, a much better presentation can be given to the rich history of the Anacostans.

I appreciate having been contacted by Eileen Maxwell on your staff, but it has occurred to me that you may not have considered the use of the contents of my website, or you may have been concerned about the possible financial cost of transferring this information to the NMAI. This letter is to assure you that there would be no cost to the museum. The contents of the website and the overall map format are available to you free of charge.

However, if you do reproduce a version of the website, some note that acknowledges my intellectual contribution would be appreciated. The success of this transfer would remedy the disappointing situation of my website offering many details of the Native American history for Washington, DC that are not included in the NMAI or it's website.

If you would like comment and additional input on this matter from the descendents of the Anacostans, I'd suggest contacting the Piscataway-Conoy tribal council, which is based in Waldof, Maryland. Their website is

Please be in touch with any specific questions that might arise about this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Armand Lione, Ph.D.
533 4th St. SE, DC, 20003

cc: Eileen Maxwell, Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist, NMAI

Original link:
“Manahatta to Manhattan, Native Americans in Lower Manhattan” (

*The Manahatta to Manhatten pdf is still available online to view and download at this Washington state educational website:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Thomas Jefferson asked the name of the DC Natives & No one knew

The opening chapter of "Chocolate City (2017)" reviews what happened to the Natives of DC very well! (Although I've heard the Fleete story differently.)
There was no citation on page 15 for this item
Around 1800, Thomas Jefferson asked about "the name of the Native Americans who lived along the Eastern Branch, no one could answer him."

About 100 years later, in 1918, Margaret Brent Downing wrote:
The Earliest Proprietors of Capitol Hill

She complains on page 3. “Few cities of the larger and more cultured class have displayed a greater indifference towards the original owners of the land on which it has been built than the National Capital.”

Ms Downing was consistent with this complaint and never mentioned the Natives again in her article.

In 2018, you can visit the American Indian Museum and see this tradition upheld.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Skeleton of a Native Girl was found in 1883 when Garfield Park was being built

After the Washington Post article was published, Mark Herlong was kind enough to email me the news links from 1883 about the Anacostan relics that were found during the construction of Garfield Park. They included skeletal remains and hair from a young Native girl.  Here are the original articles:

Washington Post article on Anacostan History

Here's a link to an article the Washington Post ran on Nov. 23, 2018.
It would be better if the article talked less about me and more about the artifacts and Anacostan history, but getting word out is the important part.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Capitol Hill Native Village site/Carroll Estate overlaid on the modern map

Here are 2 graphics I put together in October that show the map of the Carroll Estate - where SV Proudfit found enough remains to call a Native village site in 1889 - overlaid on a modern street map from google.
Duddington St was not on the original L'enfant plan. Daniel Carroll's family was from Duddington, England. The main house was called Duddington Manor.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Absence of the Anacostan Natives of DC from the National Museum of the American Indian

After the talk I gave on Oct 8 at the Anacostia Library about the Anacostan history in DC, the subject came up of why this topic isn't included in the materials offered by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) here in DC.
The 1st letter in this blog was addressed to Kevin Gover, Director of the NMAI.
It seemed like a good time for a follow-up.
Here's the letter sent on 10/15/18:

                                                                                                       sent by US Mail & email
Kevin Gover, Director
National Museum of the American Indian
Washington, DC
October 15, 2018

Re: The Absence of the Anacostan Natives of DC from the National Museum of the American Indian

Dear Kevin Gover,

In my previous letter to you in 2016 (copy attached), I briefly explained how my time in Melbourne, AU has sensitized me to the issue of acknowledging the Native people who came before us. In Melbourne, each public meeting begins with mention of the indigenous people who originally occupied the land in the city. The Melbourne city website devotes an entire section to their indigenous people.

At that time I had collected some documents and maps that showed an Anacostan/Nacotchtank village once existed in the area around Garfield Park, SE. Since that time I have collected more extensive information on the history of the Anacostan Natives who once farmed, quarried and buried their dead on the land that is now Washington, DC. I have collected and offered those materials online as a website, a blog, and in a full referenced article citing the resources I've identified (see links at end).

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but unfortunately, I have not been able to find any mention of the Anacostan Natives of DC in your National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). To the best of my knowledge, currently there is no public display that acknowledges the past existence of Anacostan villages, their quarries or burial sites. Can we initiate a future display for DC-Area Native Americans?

I understand your challenge in presenting the extensive history of the American Indian to the public. However, the absence of a telling of the story of the Natives of DC stands in sharp contrast to the excellent detail in which the story of the Manahatta Indians is told on your website: “Manahatta to Manhattan, Native Americans in Lower Manhattan” (

The current NMAI exhibit “Return to a Native Place: Algonquin Peoples of the Chesapeake,” which sits outside the elevators on the second floor of the museum, would be expected to include the Anacostans, who were the Algonquins native to DC and nearby Maryland. As is shown in the picture below, the exhibit's discussion of the Piscataway Algonquins who lived along the Potomac does not even include the part of the Potomac that reaches Washington.

Picataway wall 750.jpg

Washington, DC is currently celebrating the “Year of the Anacostia.” There has not been a great deal of public recognition of the Anacostan Natives who gave the river it's name. Of all the many public groups to overlook the history of these Native People, it's extremely sad that the NMAI is currently included. There is still time to rectify this oversight. I will be happy to contribute my time to work with your staff to help acknowledge the Anacostan Natives who previously lived on the land of this city for thousands of years.

I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, or a staff member to review the options for a display or on-line acknowledgement of DC-Area Native Americans.

Sincerely yours,
Armand Lione, Ph.D.
533 4th St. SE, DC, 20003


Monday, October 1, 2018

The Cost of Forgetting video

This 1.5 min video was added as a link to the Once As It Once Was map.
It tells the background of construction that was done on the site of the Anacostan Village that was once on Giesling Point in SE DC.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Once As It Was map of Washington, DC

You'll see the Melbourne, AU version of this map in the following post.
Here's the Once As It Was map for DC that was inspired by the Melbourne map!
Click the link below to go to the website. Each of the icons on the map will open a box explaining the Anacostan history that relates to site.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Once As It Was Map

Back in Melbourne, AU, at a local library, I found this poster that shows what the area looked like when the Indigenous Peoples lived here.
A future map of Washington, DC that shows our land when the Anacostan/Nacotchtank tribe lived here is now in the works!