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Indigenous DC: Native American Peoples and the Nation's Capital

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, September 7, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0283
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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The Lummi Nation totem poles at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Tim Evanson)

Washington, DC was built on American Indian land, but Indigenous peoples are often left out of the city’s narrative. To redress this invisibility, Elizabeth Rule, an assistant professor at American University and Chickasaw scholar-activist, shines a light on the contributions of Indigenous tribal leaders and politicians, artists, and activists to the history of the District of Columbia.

Rule explores sites of importance to Native peoples throughout the nation’s capital, including Theodore Roosevelt Island, where the Nacotchtank community sought refuge from encroaching urban development in the mid-17th century; the White House lawn, where archaeological materials from the Archaic and Woodland periods were excavated; and Anacostia and the Potomac, whose names have their roots in Indigenous languages. She acknowledges the peoples whose homelands were where the District of Columbia was built and highlights historical and contemporary federal tribal policy developed in the city. She also showcases empowering stories of how the city is a place of tribal history, gathering, and advocacy.

Rule is the author of Indigenous DC: Native Peoples and the Nation’s Capital.

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