—This story is written by 2008 OSI Community Fellow Ashley Minner. She is part of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and is a visual artist and assistant curator for History and Culture at the National Museum of the American Indian.—
By Ashley Minner
Just about 40 miles north of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on the banks of the Patapsco River, lies Baltimore, Maryland. This city of more than 600,000 people is known for its red-brick rowhouses with marble steps, steamed crabs and a distinctive accent which notably features what linguists refer to as a “fronted o” (locally pronounced “ao”).
Baltimore is within of the ancestral homelands of the Piscataway and Susquehannock peoples, and a diverse range of other American Indians have passed through or lived here. In the mid-20th century, thousands of members of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and other tribal nations migrated to Baltimore seeking manufacturing, construction and other jobs and a better quality of life.