D.C. sits on the ancestral lands of the Anacostans (also documented as the Nacotchtank). In the early 1600s, the Nacotchtank tribe had ~300 members located on Capitol Hill, with farms where the National Mall is now. Their name came from the Native word “anaquashatanik,” which means “a town of traders.”
The Nacotchtank were forcibly removed as settlers looked for land for tobacco plantations. The small population that was left joined Maryand’s Piscataway tribe.
According to officials at the American Indian museum, there are no living Nacotchtank, however you can still see their legacy around the city.
Analostan/Theodore Roosevelt Island – In the 1660s, the Nacotchtank fled to Anacostine Island, now called Theodore Roosevelt Island. Not long after, the tribe merged with other northern tribes.
White House South Lawn – Dozens of Native American artifacts were discovered when digging up the South Lawn for an in-ground pool for President Gerald Ford, proving that D.C. was literally built on Native remains.
Still curious? Indigenous DC is a great resource for info on local Native American sites. Or, listen to today’s City Cast DC episode for a more robust historical history.