2022 NASPA Annual Conference

Indigenous Engagement

"Land does not require that you confirm it exists or that it has been stolen, rather that you reciprocate the care that it has given to you."

Joseph Pierce, Cherokee Nation citizen, associate professor of Latin American and Indigenous Studies, State University of New York at Stonybrook 

If you are joining the conference in person, your presence in this place, now known as Baltimore, should be coupled with the labor and context of how you came to occupy this place, and your relationship with and to this land. If you are joining the virtual experience, the same work can and should take place with regard to the place where you live and learn. 

We encourage you to situate yourself in this labor, and to know that who you are, in relation to where you are, is a vital cognizance. We invite you to sit with this, so that as you progress in both your professional and personal journey towards knowing, you do not exacerbate harm, and instead build your foundation in humility and empathy. Hold this knowledge close, as Indigenous peoples and practitioners have done since the first days of Turtle Island.

Indigenous Peoples

These lands and waterways in what is now known as the state of Maryland are ancestral to the Accohannock Indian Tribe, Assateague People's Tribe, Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, Pocomoke Indian Nation, Youghlogheny River Band of Shawnee Indians, Piscataway Conoy Tribe, Cedarville Band of the Piscataway Conoy, Choptico Band of the Piscataway Conoy, and the Piscataway Indian Nation, all of whom shared this area through their relations and whose descendants are thriving and resisting settler occupation. While not indigenous to Maryland, a large number of Lumbee Indian tribal members migrated to East Baltimore 60 years ago from North Carolina, and remain as current day residents.

In response to constituent requests, staff of Maryland Traditions, the traditional arts program of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), initiated a Land Acknowledgment Project in April 2020 in consultation with previous MSAC American Indian grantees and the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs. Staff conducted research and engaged in compensated consultations with leaders and elders of tribes whose lands are claimed by the State of Maryland. Staff then developed a public-facing Land Acknowledgement Project Overview and Resource Guide document (published February 2022), featuring best practices, tribal histories and maps, and land acknowledgment statements created by tribal leadership. NASPA thanks the Maryland State Arts Council for allowing us to share these resources.

Opportunities to Learn about Baltimore

Indigenous Baltimore Tour

Use this map to learn about places and spaces important to American Indian history and continued presence in the city, with a specific focus on East Baltimore’s Historic American Indian “reservation.”

Indigenous Non-Profit Organizations
  • The Baltimore American Indian Center was founded in 1968 to support American Indian and Alaska Native families living in an urban environment.
  • Native American LifeLines, Inc., a Title V Indian Health Services contracted Urban Indian Health Program, promotes health and social resiliency and provides culturally-centered behavioral health, dental, outreach, and referral services.
  • The Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs serves the interests Native American communities in Maryland by aiding in the process of obtaining State and/or Federal recognition, promoting awareness of the historic and contemporary contributions of Native Americans to Maryland, and assisting state, local, and private agencies provide resources to address the educational, social, and economic needs of Native American communities in Maryland. 


  • Native Land Digital strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as our map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide. Visit
  • Learn about the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community and explore the resources members have gathered to increase understanding of, and institutional commitment toward, Indigenous peoples in higher education. Visit

Land Acknowledgment Speaker: Rico Newman

Rico Newman is an Elder and member of the Choptico Band of Piscataway-Conoy Indians, Indigenous to Maryland. Mr. Newman served six years as spokesman for his tribe, assisting in  regaining Maryland Indian Status in 2012. Currently, Mr. Newman chairs the non-profit Maryland Indian Tourism Association, and he previously served as a volunteer with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum Board of Directors, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Trails Committee, Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs Repatriation, Education and Business Committees, and the Prince George’s County Minority Judicial Committee. He is a traditional Beader, Finger Weaver, and Native flute player, and his works have been displayed at the Frisco Native Museum in North Carolina and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.