Each event in the Land and River Conversation series features a moderated panel, a Q&A session, and a community input session.
In this series:
March 31 Conservation: A Complicated Story
April 28 Reciprocity: Humans and the Environment
May 5 Interconnectedness: Heritage, Traditions, and History
About the series: “Land and River Conversations: Exploring Race and Culture through Stories from the Earth”
Be part of the conversation about the complicated history and complex relationships that have shaped our region and continue to influence our interactions with one another and with the environment. Topics will include non-traditional perspectives on landscape conservation, culture, history, and specifically connectedness of Native Americans and African Americans to this landscape.
Each Land and River Series panel discussion will be immediately followed by an in-depth conversation about interpretation. The Accokeek Foundation’s interpretation focuses on the 200-acre site that we steward in Piscataway Park on the Potomac River. We are looking for community input as we create innovative programming designed to serve diverse audiences and put visitors at the center of experiences in Piscataway Park. After our panel discussion, we encourage all interested to join us in an open conversation. The group will talk about the most important stories to tell, determine which overarching concepts best represent local narratives, and begin to identify interpretive themes. All are welcome to share their ideas and opinions.
Moderator: Dr. Julia A. King. Julia (Julie) A. King has 30 years’ experience studying, writing, and teaching about historical archaeology and Chesapeake history and culture. From 2003 until 2011, Julie served as an Expert Member on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, a Federal agency that advises the president and Congress on matters of national historic preservation policy. Her book, Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past: The View from Southern Maryland, received a Book Award from the American Association of State and Local History in 2013. Moderating all three sessions.
Panelist: Dr. Gabrielle Tayac. Dr. Gabrielle Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Indian Nation, is an activist scholar committed to empowering Indigenous perspectives. She is proud to serve in the elevation of Native women and girls as the Director of Legacy Collections at the Spirit Aligned Leadership Program. Gabi earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University, and her B.S. in Social Work and American Indian Studies from Cornell University. Her scholarly research focuses on hemispheric American Indian identity, multiracialism, indigenous religions, and social movements, maintaining a regional specialization in the Chesapeake Bay. Speaking at Reciprocity on April 28 and Interconnectedness on May 5.
Panelist: Chris Newman. Sylvanaqua Farms’ co-founder, Chris Newman, is a permaculturalist and an outspoken evangelist of ecological, economic, and social sustainability in food. A member of the Choptico Band of Piscataway Indians, Chris places a heavy emphasis on the indigenous ethics, values, and knowledge serving as the (often-unacknowledged) foundation of the modern permaculture movement, and the decolonized worldview necessary to ensure the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. An engineer and technologist by trade, he also accepts and explores the potential of modern scientific innovation to address the gaps left by ecosystem farming in solving a sustainability problem wherein timeliness is a factor. Speaking at all three sessions.
Panelist: Cryz Nkëchehósi Proctor. Cryz was born a 5th generation clan mother and Two-Spirit of the Cedarville Band, Wild Turkey Clan, of the Piscataway Conoy Nation. Art is her way of release and expression. Healing also comes from music production, spending hours with Mother Earth, and artistic creation. Cryz’s work has been featured in many exhibits within the DC area. She is a board member of the Cedarville Band of Piscataway Indians, Inc., producer for the traveling education program Living the American Indian Experience, a facilitator for health and wellness programs for Piscataway people, Chief Content Officer with the American Indian Cultural Center, and a board member with the Charles County Art Alliance. Speaking at Reciprocity on April 28 and Interconnectedness on May 5.
Panelist: Tara Morrison. Tara Morrison began her National Park Service (NPS) career in 1996 as an archeology intern in
Washington, D.C., and rose to be the first Superintendent of African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City. In that role, she worked with the African Descendant community and led the development of the monument’s visitor center. Since December 2016, Tara has served as Superintendent of National Capital Parks – East where she is responsible for the management and direction national parks that honor heroes of American history including Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune and Carter G. Woodson as well as Anacostia Park and parks that date to the L’Enfant Plan. Tara is passionate about preserving and providing access to African American historic sites. Speaking at Interconnectedness on May 5.
Panelist and Emcee: Shemika Berry. Shemika Berry, an actress, makeup artist, costumer and former Air Force officer, is the Interpretation Coordinator for the National Colonial Farm at the Accokeek Foundation. She has been an independent historical interpreter for over 15 years and has been with the Accokeek Foundation for the past 5 years interpreting the story of Cate Sharper, an enslaved woman who is documented as being owned in this region during the colonial era. Ms. Berry has been active in the theatre community throughout the DMV for 15 years and was most recently seen at the Black Box Theatre in Indian Head performing her original one-woman show; “Ms. Story’s Living History”. Emceeing all three events and joining the panel for Interconnectedness on May 5.
Community Input Moderator: Robert Forloney. Robert Forloney collaborates with cultural institutions to develop innovative programs, train interpreters, and facilitate strategic planning. He is the Accokeek Foundation’s interpretive planning consultant. He has worked in the field for more than twenty years as an educator, administrator, and consultant at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. He also serves as an adjunct professor in Goucher College’s Cultural Sustainability program as well as in the museum studies programs at Johns Hopkins and the University of Delaware. Robert strives to ensure that communities have their voices heard and are empowered by the museums that attempt to share their stories. Moderating community input at all three sessions.
This project was made possible by a grant from Maryland Humanities, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Maryland Historical Trust in the Maryland Department of Planning, and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this series do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Maryland Humanities, Maryland Historical Trust, Maryland Department of Planning, or the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.