An introduction to Piscataway Voices, a three-part blog series that shares the heritage and culture of Maryland’s Native people — Piscataway — and the individual perspectives of Native people, their relationship to land, stewardship, and each other.
Seven years ago, when I arrived at 3400 Bryan Point Road in Accokeek for the very first time I thought, “this is a special place; this feels like home.” At the time I didn’t fully understand why I felt a connection to this place, but I do now. It IS home.
Arriving at work in Piscataway Park every day, I am reminded of my own heritage and culture, and of the significance of this land as a part of the traditional homeland of the Piscataway people — my ancestors. Through my work here, I’ve had the honor to become deeply involved in the telling of Piscataway stories. I’ve worked on a team to develop a traveling exhibit based on oral histories from several Piscataway elders, including my own grandparents! I’ve met scholars and experts in the field of archaeology and indigenous cultural landscapes. I’ve even reconnected with long lost friends and family. I’m beginning to immerse myself into the study of ethnobotany as I explore more ways to tell the stories of my cultural connection to the land.
Knowing that we all have special connections to the places where we live, work, and visit, I want to share more stories about how Native people, and more specifically Piscataway, connect with their culture and the land. To share these stories of stewardship, cultural celebrations, sharing, and reciprocity, and to honor my Native American heritage, I invited my Piscataway sisters and brother to tell you their stories. These are their stories, as told in their own voice. These are Piscataway Voices:
A Homecoming Story by Chris Newman, Piscataway Conoy
The Benefit of Piscataway People to Maryland: It’s Time for Reciprocity by Cryz Proctor, Piscataway Conoy
Honoring Full Circle by Gabrielle Tayac, Piscataway Indian Nation