Archive for Events

Hello again Friends,
Finally, I can report that our gifts to the County Commissioners yesterday were well received. I understand there was a little coverage on WGAL, the York Daily Record had a story on their website, and there was a nice photo of Mary Ann and Commissioner Doug Hoke on the front page of the local section of the York Dispatch. Barb Bair said Commissioner Hoke stopped by her office afterward and talked to her about permanently displaying his blanket in the Court House.

Paul Nevin

Reprint from the York Daily Record, 18 November 2009.

County Thanked for Park with “Honoring Blankets”

York County commissioners were given a special honor this morning at their regular meeting. Representatives of the Lancaster-York Native Heritage Advisory Council presented them with honoring blankets — a symbolic “thank you” to the people of York County — for the preservation of a new county park area.

According to a council news release, November is National American Indian Heritage Month, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, the group wanted to “thank and honor those who have worked to ensure that the cultural treasure we know as the Byrd Leibhart, or Last Susquehannock Village Site, has been preserved for future generations.”

In October of 2008, the county acquired the property, and on April 29, 2009, the commissioners passed a resolution adopting the Native Lands County Park as the 11th park in the York County Department of Parks and Recreation, the news release states. Native Lands County Park is 93 acres adjacent to Klines Run Park, 1600 Long Level Road, 3 miles south of Wrightsville. The only access to the park, at this time, is by the Native Lands Heritage Trail. The mile-long trail can be accessed either at Klines Run Park or the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area office, 1706 Long Level Road.

The news release states: “The trail crosses rolling meadows with wonderful views of the Susquehanna River and its bordering lands. A trail guide brochure explaining significant features in the park, including the historic Dritt family cemetery and the site of the last village of the Susquehannock Indians, is available at the trailheads.”

The Perry Historians, a genealogical library located just northeast of New Bloomfield, Perry County, PA. is hosting another of their Special Presentations at their library in the Hoverter Archives building.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.

Special speaker, Mr. Andrew Wyatt is an archaeologist at the Harrisburg office of McCormick Taylor, Inc..  Since 1986, Mr. Wyatt has conducted fieldwork and analysis on Native American sites in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic regions.  He received a B.A. in Anthropology from the State University of New York, Albany and an M.A. in Anthropology from Temple University.

The title of Mr. Wyatt’s presentation is An Early Seventeenth Century Susquehannock Village in the Great Valley: The Lemoyne Borough Memorial Park Site. Mr. Wyatt will speak on the recent archaeological excavations in advance of rail line construction, which resulted in the discovery and partial excavation of a previously unknown Susquehannock village site dating to the early seventeenth century.  This presentation will feature the site, its artifacts, and its relationship to the more well-known Susquehannock villages in Lancaster and York counties.

This program is FREE to all and all are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served following the presentation. Directions: Located on right hand side of Route 34 North, 2 miles from the square of New Bloomfield, or left hand side of Route 34 South, 4 miles from Newport.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 Postponed: See Below

Klines Run Park, 3 miles south of Wrightsville, PA
on Long Level Rd. (Rt 624)
Opening Ceremony 10 a.m.

You are invited to join local Native Americans on Saturday, October 17, 2009, as they express their gratitude to the residents of York County for saving the last Susquehannock Indian village sites. A traditional gift-giving ceremony will open the event at 10 a.m. on the overlook area of Kline’s Run Park at Long Level, 3 miles south of Wrightsville, PA on Route 624 (Long Level Road).

From 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. the 3/4 mile walking trail across Native Lands County Park leading to the site of the last Susquehannock Village will be open for you to see and learn about the new park and the incredible history of the land and its peoples. Along the mowed trail that winds across the park’s meadow will be artifact displays, Native American craft demonstrations and dancing, and other displays relating to the rich story of the land.

Archaeologists will explain the site, and Native people will share children’s games and discuss life around the longhouse. You will be able to walk a Time Line of Man’s long presence on the site, watch a flint knapper making arrowheads, see actual artifacts from the area, and visit the adjacent  Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area’s Visions of the Susquehanna River art collection at the John & Kathryn Zimmerman Center for Heritage at Historic Pleasant Garden, as well as enjoy views of the park’s plants, birds, animals and the natural beauty of the area.

There will be no refreshments available, so you are invited to bring your own picnic lunch and beverages and enjoy the parks’ grounds and the beautiful views of the Susquehanna River. Hiking the trail is strongly encouraged, but a shuttle bus will be available to the center of the park and the Zimmerman Center for those unable to walk the entire trail.

The event has been organized by the Lancaster-York Native Heritage Advisory Council with the assistance of York County Department of Parks and Recreation, Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation, the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area as well many other groups and individuals.

Contact: paulnevin@aol.com, (717) 578-1358

We regret to report that this event has been postponed for inclement weather. See Comment 3 for details.

On April 29, 2009, York County designated 93 acres of its 187-acre parcel as Native Lands County Park, preserving site of the Last Susquehannock Village and surrounding the land for future generations.

A Brief Native Lands County Park Timeline:

  • 14,000 years to present – People have utilized and have been caretakers of the Native Lands property.
  • 1676 – 1680 – Native Lands was site of the last village where the Susquehannock Indians functioned as a Nation.
  • 1984 – The Byrd Leibhart Site, site of the last village of the Susquehannock Indians, was deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1990 – National Parks Service Study recommended that the site be nominated for National Historic Landmark status.
  • December, 2002 – Plans were submitted for more than 450 homes and townhouses on the 187-acre parcel where the site of the last Susquehannock village is located. Some 200 documented burials exist in cemeteries associated with the village.
  • February 26, 2003 – A hearing was held to address concerns about plans for the development. Nearly 250 members of the public attended, including many Native Americans who voiced their opposition to the plans. (By the time of the hearing, plans for townhouses on top of the village site had been eliminated.)
  • March 10, 2003 – The applicants indicated that 17 townhouse units still planned on the Susquehannock Village’s northwest cemetery would be eliminated. Summer, 2003 – The site was placed on Preservation Pennsylvania’s Annual listing of the Commonwealth’s Most Endangered Historic Properties “Pennsylvania at Risk, 2003″.
  • 2003 – 2008 – Hearings, condemnation, lawsuits, and negotiations, as well as sustained pressure from Native Americans and others concerned with the preservation of the endangered site ensued.
  • October 31, 2008 – The 187-acre parcel was acquired by York County for 16.6 million dollars.
  • January, 14, 2009 – The Byrd Leibhart Site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • January, 2009 – Nearby land containing the site of a previous Susquehannock Village (the Oscar Leibhart Site), already on the National Register of Historic Places, was purchased by the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County and the Archaeological Conservancy for preservation.
  • April 29, 2009 – York County designated 93 acres of its 187-acre parcel as Native Lands County Park, preserving site of the Last Susquehannock Village and surrounding the land for future generations.

October 17, 2009 – Native Lands Celebration – You are invited to this celebration and a giving of thanks by the Native American community in honor of the preservation of a special place (the Native American  Heritage Sites), sacred grounds (the Native and non-Native cemeteries), and of a beautiful and significant piece of our Mother Earth for future generations to enjoy and learn from.