The Importance of Acknowledging our History: NARA at College Park, Maryland

This is the second in a series of blog posts that acknowledges the history of the land on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated. Today’s post is the National Archives building in College Park, Maryland, known by staff and local researchers as “A2.”

The A2 building site contains archeological remains from prehistoric settlements during the Late Archaic period, c. 4000-1500 B.C. Stone artifacts recovered through archeological testing indicate that this camp served as a place of stone tool manufacture and probably as a staging point for hunting and foraging. This site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 22, 1996. 

The National Archives at College Park is on land adjacent to the University of Maryland in College Park. The University of Maryland has developed a land acknowledgement statement that has been approved by Piscataway Tribe elders and we share their approved language here:

Every community owes its existence and strength to the generations before them, around the world, who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy into making the history that led to this moment. Some were brought here against their will, some were drawn to migrate from their homes in hope of a better life, and some have lived on this land for more generations than can be counted. Truth and acknowledgment are critical in building mutual respect and connections across all barriers of heritage and difference.

We believe it is important to create dialogue to honor those that have been historically and systemically disenfranchised. So, we acknowledge the truth that is often buried: We are on the ancestral lands of the Piscataway People, who were among the first in the Western Hemisphere. We are on indigenous land that was stolen from the Piscataway People by European colonists. We pay respects to Piscataway elders and ancestors.

1935 map “Indian Tribes from the State of Maryland, ”Maryland Map Collection, from the University of Maryland Digital Collections

This blogpost is the second in a series acknowledging the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ facilities stand. I encourage you to research and learn about the ancestral indigenous lands on which you work and live. 

For further reading: