Earlier this month, the University of Maryland (UMD), together with the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, kicked off Native American Indigenous Heritage Month with a ground blessing ceremony and an announcement of the name of its new dining hall: Yahentamitsi (Yah-hen-tuh-meet-c).
Yahentamitsi may be the first dining hall built on campus in nearly 50 years, and you will be the 3rd building in the Heritage Community, joining two residence halls: Pyon-Chen Hall, which opened this fall, and Johnson-Whittle Hall, that will open in 2022. The Heritage Community is made on the building blocks of honoring individuals and cultures who represent the university’s important history, like the Piscataway, the Indigenous folks of Maryland.
“The naming of our new dining hall honoring the Piscataway people is really a symbolic manner in which we have been ushering in a fresh era of inclusiveness at the University of Maryland. Acknowledging our storied past is among the most significant steps in developing a grouped community that’s TerrapinSTRONG,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “I am hoping that whenever students, faculty and staff start to see the true name Yahentamitsi, it inspires them for more information about the incredible individuals who came before us and the grouped communities they represent.”
The name Yahentamitsi is translated to “a location to visit eat,” from the extinct Algonquian language spoken by the Piscataway. The real name originated in a partnership between UMD students, faculty, and staff, like the American Indian Student Union, Piscataway elders, and tribal members.
“The rich history and culture of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples is a thing that we cherish and honor,” said Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives Director Steven McAdams. “Through our Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, we’ve forged a solid bond with one of these grouped communities to greatly help tell their story. We encourage all Marylanders to understand about our history and keep carefully the traditions of American Indian tribes in Maryland alive.”
The name was announced at a normal ground blessing ceremony on campus in the current presence of university officials, UMD students, representatives from hawaii of Maryland, and members of the Piscataway Tribe along with other Indigenous peoples. The function included traditional performances, including a calling song, honor song, and memorial song.
Representing the university and state’s joint commitment to serve Maryland’s Native communities, President Pines presented the official replica of a Wampum belt to E. Keith Colston, Director of Ethnic Commissions, Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.
The a lot more than 60,000-square-foot, 1,000-seat dining hall is the first building at UMD to honor the Native American heritage of its campus. Yahentamitsi will feature 11 major different food platforms and an outdoor dining balcony will overlook the practice fields and Maryland Stadium. The building will undoubtedly be LEED Silver Certified you need to include gender neutral staff and restrooms locker rooms. The dining hall will include a tribute to the Piscataway people through the entire building also, using its interior as a real way to educate the campus community about the Piscataway people through art, artifacts, and other educational materials.