Chesapeake indigenous landscapes recognized as endangered

Chesapeake Conservancy commended Preservation Maryland for including a dozen Indigenous landscapes in six Maryland counties in its 2013 list of Endangered Maryland places and structures. The landscapes, nominated for inclusion by the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, tell important historical, cultural, and environmental stories about the Chesapeake Bay, the Conservancy said in a letter supporting the nomination.

“We believe that the 12 nominated indigenous landscapes are representative of the diverse indigenous landscapes Captain John Smith would have encountered during his exploration of the Bay,” wrote Joel Dunn, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “As such, they are important for preserving the history of the Bay and are important components of the National Park Service’s Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.”

Dunn noted that some of the proposes sites, located in Charles, Dorchester, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Wicomico, and Worcester, are already included within the priority protection areas of the John Smith Trail, and others are in priority conservation areas identified by other organizations and agencies.  He noted the lands are candidates for conservation collaboration and will support Native American sites and promote sustainable tourism.

The lands are associated with American Indians, including the Piscataway, Choptico, Nanticoke, and Manokin. Threatened by development, these unspoiled landscapes will be lost without protection.