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Explore an American Indian village at Patuxent River Park

Take the kids to a brand new interpretative American Indian Village opening at Patuxent River Park in Upper Marlboro, Oct. 24, 2015.

Built largely by local teenage volunteers, the village replicates an Eastern woodland village, taking visitors back in time to experience the history of the indigenous people of Prince George’s County.

Indian Village VolunteersW“There are a lot of parks that focus on colonialism (and) African American history, and we even have a dinosaur park, but there was a missing chunk of time,” explains Prince George’s County park naturalist and program manager Tonya Johnson, who came up with the idea for the village. “This is something that has been desperately needed for years.”

The village includes a 40-foot long longhouse, a wigwam, archaeological exhibits, a garden, and stations showing the processes for tanning hides, weaving nets, cooking outdoors and making mats. There are also nature trails and the option for canoe tours along the Patuxent River.

Members of the Piscataway Tribe will lead the opening ceremonies, starting with a traditional welcoming ceremony Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. After the welcoming, tribe members will be at different stations throughout the village teaching what each station meant to the tribe. The program will run until noon.

After the grand opening, self-guided tours can be taken at any time and programs by request are also available, Johnson says. Regular programming will start in the spring.

A free app, including music, videos and stories, is available to guide visitors through the village. It will be updated often, and is available from Google Play and the Apple store.

According to the last census, Prince George’s County has the largest population of Native Americans in Maryland, Johnson explains.

“The idea is to give them something so that they can tell their story,” she says.

The American Indian Village at Patuxent River Park is free to the public and located at 16000 Croom Airport Road. For an audio tour call 301-388-5839 For details visit indianvillage.toursphere.com.

By Betsy Stein

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