Together, lets take the time to reflect, learn, and grow. 

Recognizing our shared past is imperative towards honoring the true and complete history of our nation and continent.  Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake honors that story, and recognizes that we stand in the footsteps of countless people who came before us. 

We recognize together that the North American story does not begin with the Colonial era, but rather with the arrival of the first people thousands of years before. Their stories, culture, wisdom, and ingenuity helped define who we are, and continues to shape what our nation will become. Today, and all days, we honor our country's future by recognizing our shared past.  

It’s time to dismantle the barriers that separate our communities, a goal only achieved through recognition and acknowledgment. 

With help, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake has prepared a statement honoring our commitment to the indigenous communities of the Chesapeake Bay region.  We hope you will join us in this reflection.

Land Recognition

For more than 10,000 years, people have walked the very footsteps you tread today.  The stories, experiences, and lives of those people now lay forever entombed beneath the soil. We may never fully understand the breadth of complexities in human life here in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but what we do know is it is worth celebrating!  

It is not easy coming to terms with wrong-doings of the past, nor is it easy to take responsibility for those actions, but making efforts towards understanding someone’s life is a powerful first step towards building an accepting future for all. The resource below about tribal lands can be a great place to start learning.  While this map does not tell the complete story of early life in America, it does paint a picture of the societal-diversity in early America just prior to colonization.  

We invite you to join us in taking the time to learn more about the indigenous communities that once occupied our region.

Exploring Indigenous Lands

While much of our local indigenous history was passed down orally, some stories are forever preserved in the artifacts and relics left behind on the landscape.  

This ancient world was one of rapid change. When people first arrived into the Chesapeake region, it was not for the bounty of the Chesapeake’s waters.  In-fact, there was no Chesapeake Bay at all!  Early indigenous tribes in our region were thriving amidst the peak of an intense Ice Age, living in close proximity to the ancient Susquehanna River, which carried the melt-waters of glaciers covering much of what is now Pennsylvania.  These tribes were nomadic, dependent upon herds of land-mammals who were equally dependent upon the river's life-giving waters. 

While many things changed with time, the idea of intimate connection to “place”, and specifically to water, did not waver.  This idea of place-based-awareness would blossom to become a core component of Eastern indigenous spirituality.

When the glaciers began melting, their flood waters dramatically raised sea level, resulting in the flooding of the Susquehanna River valley and the formation of the Chesapeake Bay as we know it.  Many of these earliest records of our paleo-past now rest forever preserved below the silts of the Chesapeake’s bottom. These climatic changes were geologically rapid, and early indigenous people evolved and reacted rapidly. 

 As the climate stabilized, the Chesapeake took shape and so too did our early societies. These societal-evolutions are often best observed through the tools and other artifacts which remained upon the land.  Evidence of tremendous technological advancements, spiritual practice, agricultural systems, successful medicine, and even trade routes hundreds-of-miles-long, can all be found preserved in rock and bone. 

Keep a sharp eye at your feet, and you just might catch a glimpse of this ancient-world!  Thousands-and-thousands of indigenous sites and artifacts can be found across the Chesapeake’s watershed, each revealing clues of what life was like and how it changed with time.  

Want to learn more about some of these technological changes through time?  Start with this resource from the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum all about Maryland projectile points and ceramics, to help you better understand the changes in technologies with time. 

If you find an indigenous artifact, please take the time to record your exact location (GPS coordinates if possible!), recent-notable-weather, and important landscape features, so that we may better understand and preserve the relics and stories of our shared past.  Contact your regional IPC outreach coordinator to learn more about what to do if you find a meaningful artifact. 

Understanding American-Indigenous Technologies

In honor of Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month, IPC and our allies would like to invite you to an intimate exploration of indigenous faith and "place-based-spirituality" in an effort to better understand our spiritual connections to the world, and waters, around us.  Connecting our faith with the local lands and waters surrounding us is an important part of deepening our connection with our own faith.  How can your "place" influence your spirituality and improve your connection with the world around you? 

For Indigenous Americans, spiritual connection with place is the root of faith. Let's explore this complex topic together!

Register for Chesapeake Conversations: Exploring Indigenous Faith

We are a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. Together we are strongest. We find ourselves yet again living in a world of change.  It’s time, more than ever, to decide what story our artifacts will tell about our own connection to each other, our land, and waters. 

We cannot erase the misdeeds of the past, nor can we ignore them, but we can make amends for the future. It’s time to begin the path towards healing. That in many ways is what our work here at Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake is all about.


Please re-explore the above links...

Land Recognition

Exploring Indigenous Lands

Understanding American-Indigenous Technologies

Register for Chesapeake Conversations: Exploring Indigenous Faith



Taylor Swanson


Communications & Outreach Coordinator (Anne Arundel, Charles, Queen Anne's, Kent, St. Mary's, Calvert)