A Quest to Reconstruct Baltimore’s American Indian ‘Reservation’

  • 2019-05-10
  • The Conversation

Lumbee are indigenous to North Carolina but have been present in Baltimore since at least as early as the 1930s. My grandparents moved here in 1963 with their three children, one of whom was my mother. I was born here, and that makes me a first-generation Baltimore Lumbee. I grew up to be a community-based visual artist and a folklorist. I’m currently a doctoral candidate at University of Maryland College Park, where I’m finishing my dissertation on the changing relationship of Lumbee people to the neighborhood in Baltimore where they settled.

This particular time, an elder of the community had come along with us. Naturally, I ceded the responsibility of leading the tour to her.

We started out on my usual route, but, to my surprise, she stopped us just outside South Broadway Baptist Church to talk about an Indian jewelry store that used to be next door. This was news to me. I didn’t remember the store because it was gone before my time.

I started to wonder: How much more don’t I know about the places and spaces Lumbee people once had here?

Younger generations of Lumbee people should be able to see and know that our people’s history in Baltimore runs much deeper and wider than it seems.