The Land Has Memory

The Land Has Memory

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Potomac Village

Potomac Village

Sassafras

Sassafras

Upland Hardwood Forest

Upland Hardwood Forest

About

The ancient roots of the land still exist under concrete, under steel, under marble.

Potomac Village

An Audio Transcript

This stream is a reference to the Tiber Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. It flowed through the Museum's site long ago. The meaning of the word Potomac is "where the goods were gathered." This was a bustling place of trade for the tribes of this area.

Gabrielle Tayac, who is Piscataway, is a researcher and historian at the Museum.

"The ancient roots of the land still exist under concrete, under steel, under marble. They persist. They don't really change even though the landscape on top – it's just like a layer that's temporary almost.

Sassafras

An Audio Transcript

Sassafras plants have leaves shaped like mittens. Depending on the season, you may be able to spot them.

Renée Gokey is Eastern Shawnee and Sac-and-Fox. Her people have had a long relationship with the Sassafras plant.

"The sassafras is called pakwani-misi, and looks like a plant or a bush, but it's actually a tree. It has a very aromatic leaf so you can .. sort be sure that you're smelling and seeing the sassafras leaf and it smells like almost like lemon. when it's crushed, It's important to the Shawnees – it links us to our past …… we continue to use that plant today."

Upland Harwood Forest

An Audio Transcript

Tanya Thrasher.

"The goal was to recreate the environment that existed here 400 years ago– what Native people, the Algonquin peoples would recognize if they walked up to this spot. The Museum's forest reflects the species of this region as they were before European contact: tulip tree, southern magnolia, sumac, and dogwood. That's a hard wood woodlands that evokes the blue ridge mountains which are nearby in Virginia, the upper Potomac river, …the tall trees are shading the smaller plants and bushes and so the interplay and ecosystem that actually exists in nature does flourish here for the woodlands."