Monday, September 4, 2023

"Native American History of Washington, DC" Book Release, Sept. 4, 2023!

 This book is the cullmination of what started with my earliest efforts to get a Native Village Marker for Capitol Hill!

Hopefully, telling the whole story of my collection of details on the Garfield Park/Carroll Estate site, and the many others around the city, will significantly increase awareness of the many missing stories in the Native history of DC!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Statement by Matriarch Julie Tayac Yates to Accompany Plaques Marking the Restoration of Piscataway Fishing Rights in Washington, DC

Following the ceremony that was held on Oct. 15, 2022, DOEE produced a set of ceremonial plaques to memorialize issuing the first licenses to restore native fishing rights in the waters of the District of Columbia. DOEE collaborated with Matriarch Julie Tayac Yates of the Piscataway Indian Nation and Chief Jesse James Swann, Jr. of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe to design their respective ceremonial plaques as a gift from DOEE to commemorate the historic occasion. 

Chief Swann issued a statement to accompany the Piscataway Conoy Tribe plaque that can be read at this link:

Matriarch Tayac Yates issued a statement to accompany the Piscataway Indian Nation plaque that is posted here:

Under this mulberry tree on April 10, 1666, Leonard Calvert made a treaty with the Indians of the Village. 
Today, past and present, we are recognized with our traditions, and identities, we continue to
preserve our historical heritage. 
In memory of Chief Turkey Tayac  
27th Hereditary Sagamore, Piscataway Indian Nation 
Matriarch Julie Tayac Yates
Dr. Gabrielle Tayac 

Note: Matriarch Tayac Yates' statement references the second image of the "Old Mulberry" tree on this page.

The DC Native History Project is proud to be among the groups receiving copies of the ceremonial plaques and both of the posted statements!  

Friday, April 28, 2023

In the 1666 Treaty, "Anacostanck" Was Used As the Tribe Name, Nacotchtank Was Not Mentioned.

 This previous post from Feb 2022 discusses how the prominent error made on Captain John Smith's 1612 map still confuses many modern investigators about the name of the tribe of Native Americans who once lived in and around Washington, DC. 

The map makers misheard the words used for the name of the tribe and wrote the name of "Nacotchtanck" on the 1612 map. The name for the tribe was derived from the Native words for "a town of traders." As was pointed out about 20 years later, by Father Andrew White, the Jesuit who studied the Piscataway language for his preaching, the word for trading was "anaquash" and town was "tanik," so Anaquashtanik was what the mapmakers recorded as "Nacotchtanck."

 Native names, like many foreign names, went through a lot of changes as they were used by English settlers. But as evidence of how quickly the tribe name moved away from the Nacotchtanck form, the name used for the tribe in the Peace and Amity treaty of 1666 was "Anacostanck." (In a previous version of this post, a reading of the name as "Anacostaub" was included. Searching the transciption given in the Maryland Achives link that follows, it seems that the apparent "ub" ending is an old script for "ck.")

 Here's a link for the full text of the treaty. The name "Nacotchtank" or it's derivations isn't in the treaty.

Currently, Wikipedia still has an entry for "Nacotchtank." Their entry on the 1666 treaty says the name of the tribe was "Anacostanck," which is an active link to their Nacotchtank entry. Despite previous attempts, getting the cabal that controls the content of the entry to change the discussion of the name and several other confusions in the text, little or no progress has been made. Maybe pointing out the absence of Nacotchtank in this 17th century legal document will move an editor to correct the explanation of the Anacostan tribe's name.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

You Are On Native Land t-shirt

 My old friend, Doug Hartnett, was kind enough to give me this excellent "YAONL" t-shirt:

It can be ordered from this Native American website: 
but if you're like Doug (and me), you might want one with larger text. 
There are several other online sites that also sell the shirt, many with the larger text, shown here.
Preach on!

Friday, December 2, 2022

DC Public Library Podcast for Native American Heritage Month

DCPL Podcast on DC Native Artifacts

In honor of NAHM, Ryan Williams, Digital Producer for DCPL, hosted a podcast with Ruth Trocolli, the State Archaeologist of Washington, DC, Chief Jesse James Swann of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, and me, to talk about the Native artifacts that the Office of Historic Preservation now stores at the MLK building. In the podcast we discuss some of the many locations, including the White House, where Native artifacts have been found in the city, and Chief Swann shares the perspective of what the artifacts mean to the local Piscataways, who are the descendents of the artifact creators.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Native American Heritage Day 2022 Video - The Restoration of Native Fishing Rights by Washington, DC!

 A 1666 Treaty between the colonists and the Piscataway and Anacostan tribes, among others, stated: 

"The priviledge of hunting Crabbing fishing & fowleing shall be preserved to the Indians inviolably.” 

When members of the DC City Council learned about this treaty, they passed a bill giving local Natives free fishing licenses. The first licenses were presented at a ceremony on Oct. 15, 2022. 

This 2.20 min video tells the details of that story, in honor of Native American Heritage Day, 2022!

Fishing Bill video NAHD 2022:

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Native Storage Pits Found at Fletcher's Boathouse in 1997

 Archaeology done at Fletcher's Boathouse in 1997, before some parking lot construction, located more than 11 large Native storage pits. They seem to have been dug sequentially at roughly the same time, more than 2000 years ago. One theory for their use was that Natives travelling upriver, got to the falls on the Potomac, and stored their excess goods in the pits, before portaging their canoes upstream.

Yet another fascinating piece of DC Native History that goes untold at Fletchers and elsewhere in the city!

The Washington Post ran a story about the site: 

"Mysterious Silos Found Next To C&O Canal, Underground Pits are 2000 Years Old." Linda Wheeler. Washington Post, Nov. 1, 1998, pg. B6.. (Full text available through DC Public Library and other public libraries.)

Archaeological dig at Fletcher’s Boathouse, 1997. Courtesy of Richard Teehan/Friends of Fletcher’s

Diagram of pit outlines redrawn from original report.