Guide to Indigenous DC

Guide to Indigenous DC is a walking tour map featuring sites of historical and contemporary importance to Native peoples across the Nation’s capital.

Guide to Indigenous DC

Washington, District of Columbia 20016, United States

Created By: Dr. Elizabeth Rule - The Guide To Indigenous Lands Project

Tour Information

Guide to Indigenous DC is a tour map and mobile application featuring sites of importance to Native peoples across the Nation’s capital. The Guide emphasizes Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Washington, DC, highlights the historical and contemporary federal tribal policy developed in the city, and acknowledges the peoples whose homelands upon which the District of Columbia was built. The Guide showcases the empowering stories of how Washington, DC is a place of tribal history, gathering, and advocacy with a long, rich history.

The publicly-facing Guide contributes to tribal historic preservation efforts in Washington, DC, and serves as a resource to primary, secondary, and university-level educational institutions in the city and surrounding areas who can use the guide in conjunction with field trips and curriculum. Tribal leaders and organizations who travel to the capital for business will find value in this tool as an educational and culturally-relevant activity. The Guide also encourages millions of tourists who visit Washington, DC to remember the importance of Indigenous peoples to our shared national history and raises awareness of the role of Indigenous peoples to ongoing political processes and current events.

Developed by Principal Investigator Elizabeth Rule for the AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy at the George Washington University, and in partnership with the American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, the Guide was created in close collaboration with scholars, historians, and members of the local Native community who have institutional knowledge of key events and locations.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The United States Marine Corps War Memorial honors those Marines who gave their lives in service to the nation since November 10, 1775. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph that inspired the monument showed six men, including Ira Hayes (Pi... Read more
Native peoples built their communities in the Chesapeake Bay area hundreds of years before Washington, DC was established as the nation's capital. Well into the 17th century, the Nacotchtank (also known as the Anacostian, Anaquashtank, an... Read more
On January 18, 2019, the Indigenous Peoples Movement led the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, DC. The purpose of the march was to address indigenous issues on the global level, such as gun violence, mental health, women's rights, pol... Read more
In November 1972, the American Indian Movement's Trail of Broken Treaties campaign culminated in the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs national headquarters. The takeover lasted 7 days in total. On November 2, a delegation of nearl... Read more
Created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the Depression-era murals at the Department of the Interior building depict both social and ceremonial aspects of Native American life.  Kiowa painter James Auchiah (1906-197... Read more
In 2018, artist Joerael Numina collaborated with the local Piscataway community in order to design a spray-painted mural for the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University. The mural weaves together symbols a... Read more
In 1975, President Gerald Ford installed a swimming pool on White House grounds, an action that would unveil the indigenous history of the city. Studies of the excavated White House lands by National Park Service curator Robert S. Marshall ... Read more
On March 10, 2017, Native activists broke records by holding a demonstration with a record participant turn out. The Native Nations March, sponsored by activist group Native Nations Rise and led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, unfolded as... Read more
Decades before Washington developed as the nation's capital, Georgetown existed autonomously. These neighboring cities merged in 1871, and Dumbarton Bridge (also known as Buffalo Bridge) was erected to increase accessibility between the two... Read more
Located amidst foreign embassies and diplomatic headquarters, the National Congress of Americans opened the Embassy of Tribal Nations on November 3, 2009. The purpose of this embassy is to raise awareness of sovereign tribal nations, establ... Read more
In an act of solidarity between farmers, ranchers, and tribes, the Cowboy and Indian Alliance demonstration protested the Keystone XL pipeline and championed environmental protections, specifically focusing on the at-risk Ogallala Aquifer. ... Read more
Internationally-acclaimed Canadian artist Bill Reid (Haida) began work on The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Black Canoe in 1985. The piece was donated to the Government of Canada and installed at the Canadian embassy in 1991. Haida Gwaii ref... Read more
The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is perhaps the most well-known, visible, and prominent indigenous sites in Washington, DC. The discovery of tens of thousands of indigenous objects of patrimony and human remains in the... Read more
Commissioned by Congress in 2013, the National Native American Veterans Memorial will honor American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian veterans who serve in all branches of the US Armed Forces. The memorial is expected to debut on ... Read more
A number of Native American senators and representatives have served in the United States Congress. The United States Capitol Building also contains dozens of paintings, sculptures, and murals featuring various scenes of Indian history. Am... Read more
Created to honor of those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Liberty and Freedom totem poles were dedicated by the Lummi Nation on September 23, 2004. As the poles traveled 4,500 miles from Washington Stat... Read more
The Congressional Cemetery, founded in 1807, is the resting site of 36 Native American delegates, dignitaries, and advocates, and their families, who passed on while working on behalf of their people in the nation's capital. These individua... Read more


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