September 6, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(301) 699-3500 x6154
Largo, Maryland – The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) commemorates the contributions of indigenous communities to architecture and history with Guide to Indigenous Maryland, a mobile app (iOS and Android) and website (IndigenousMD.info) developed by Maryland’s public libraries under the auspices of the Maryland State Library Agency (MSLA) and Prince PGCMLS. This free educational resource provides an exciting entry point for Marylanders of all ages to learn about the history of local Native and Indigenous peoples.
“This Native American Day, DMV residents are invited to download Guide to Indigenous Maryland and take a driving or virtual tour of culturally significant Native American and Indigenous sites,” said Nicholas A. Brown, Acting Co-Chief Executive of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System.
The Guide leads users on a tour of 21 curated sites throughout Maryland that reflect how Native American and Indigenous heritage is integral to local history and contemporary life. Sites range from the Bald Friar Ford Petroglyphs in Harford County and Piscataway Park in Prince George’s County to the Askiminokonson Indian Town in Worcester County. Tribal communities include Piscataway, Pocomoke, Moyaone, Nanticoke, Chicone, and more.
Developed between November 2021 and June 2022, Guide to Indigenous Maryland has 1,036 downloads since beta launch in June 2022. This educational resource was supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Maryland State Library Agency, the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, and Maryland’s community of public library systems. The Guide was curated by Dr. Elizabeth Rule, Assistant Professor, American University. Dr. Rule is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and is renowned nationally as a leading proponent of engaging the general public with the Native and Indigenous heritage of local communities. She previously developed and launched a Guide to Indigenous DC and Guide to Indigenous Baltimore.
The sites currently featured in the Guide are drawn from over 125 sites that were submitted to the project curator and task force through an open public call for crowdsourced submissions. Sites recommended by representatives of local tribal organizations were prioritized in the curatorial process and the Guide samples historical sites and markers, culturally significant natural landmarks, artistic works that honor local Native American and Indigenous Heritage and more. The Guide does not aim to provide a comprehensive overview of local sites, but rather a sampling to encourage further exploration.
The project task force includes representatives from Maryland’s 24 public library systems, tribal nations, statewide cultural heritage organizations, and Maryland State Archives. Troi Madison Newman, a Black and Indigenous artist and enrolled citizen of the Piscataway Nation, is the Guide to Indigenous Maryland project artist. Her design for the Guide, which features a terrapin, colors that reflect local tribal heritage, and Maryland’s state flag, “embodies a minimalist concept with Maryland influence and the various indigenous communities” who call these lands home. Community members are invited to utilize the Guide and share feedback at IndigenousMD.info. This feedback will help guide enhancements to the Guide over the coming Months.
About Dr. Elizabeth Rule
Dr. Elizabeth Rule is Assistant Professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies at American University. She is an enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. Rule’s research on Indigenous issues has been featured in the Washington Post, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, The Atlantic, Newsy, and NPR. She is also a published author, releasing scholarly articles in the American Quarterly and in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. Rule has two forthcoming monographs. The first, “Reproducing Resistance: Gendered Violence and Indigenous Nationhood,” analyzes the intersection of violence against Native women, reproductive justice, and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; this work received the Julien Mezey Award from the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities in 2020. Rule’s second monograph, “Indigenous DC: Native Peoples and the Nation’s Capital” (Georgetown University Press), analyzes historical and contemporary sites of Indigenous importance in Washington and compliments her Guide to Indigenous DC mobile application.
Beyond the classroom, Rule continues her work as an educator by presenting her research and delivering invited talks on Native American issues. More than 100 public speaking engagements and interviews have taken her across three continents and to seven countries. Venues for such presentations include the United Nations Association-USA, the Institut des Amériques in Paris, France, the National Congress of American Indians, the Women’s and Gender Studies Intellectual Forum at MIT, the National Gallery of Art, and more. Previously, Dr. Rule has held posts as Director of the Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy and Faculty in Residence at George Washington University, Director of the Native American Political Leadership Program and the INSPIRE PreCollege Program, MIT Indigenous Communities Fellow, Postdoctoral Fellow at American University, and Ford Foundation Fellow. Rule received her Ph.D. and M.A. in American Studies from Brown University, and her B.A. from Yale University.
Interviews: Dr. Elizabeth Rule (Project Curator) has interview availability Friday, October 7 at 11 am. Nicholas A. Brown (Project Director) is also available for interviews by request.
About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 967,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve book lovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. PGCMLS is the recipient of the 2021 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award for Workforce and Economic Development. Learn more at pgcmls.info/about-us.