Irvine Nature Center is located on land which served for millennia as a shared place for seasonal hunting, trapping, and trade by Indigenous Peoples living along the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna River. The majority of these came from Algonquin tribes, most notably the Piscataway people, located to the south, and several groups of Iroquoian speakers, especially the Susquehannock tribe, to the north.
Today the Baltimore area remains home to descendants of these tribes, as well as to several thousand members of the Lumbee and Cherokee tribes, many of whose parents or grandparents relocated from Virginia and North Carolina to pursue industrial jobs in Baltimore following World War II.
Elders from the Baltimore American Indian Center – “a place where people are treated with dignity, respect, and understanding, and cultural practices are kept alive” – advised Irvine on the location and layout of the Native American site. Members of the Center assisted with construction of the wigwams and performed a ceremonial blessing.
In creating a Native American Site for educational use, Irvine respectfully recognizes both the Indigenous Peoples who were the original caretakers of the forests and fields of the Maryland Piedmont and their descendants who carry on the rich cultural traditions of their heritage. These communities are our friends and neighbors today. We acknowledge the violent and painful history of forced displacement, which Indigenous People suffered at the hands of white colonists. We affirm that through our educational programming we will strive to honor the legacy of the Indigenous generations before us, to validate the loss of tenured and sacred land, and to ensure that the deep spiritual connections between this special place and its stewards remain steadfast for generations to come.