01 Oct 2009
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.