Native Americans help clean up Dritt family cemetery in new York County park
Notice the Dritt name on the broken tombstone at the historic Dritt cemetery in the new York County (Pa.) Native Lands County Park recently. Those are the hands of Paul Nevin, one of the cleanup crew members. (See related photo below.) Background posts: 400 years ago, John Smith explored Chesapeake Bay and For years, York countians have eyed amazing, destructive Susquehanna River ice jams and Petroglyphs, American Indian carvings, almost forgotten treasure.
After months of rancor surrounding the Lauxmont Farms controversy, it was intriguing to see a recent example of productive peace in a park that the episode spun off.
Last weekend, local Native Americans weeded an overgrown cemetery on land that is now part of York County’s Native Lands County Park.
That was the cemetery for the Dritt family, an old-time local family that hasn’t been able to muster such a clean-up effort in recent years.
The park is home to more than the Dritt cemetery.
It contains the site of the last Susquehannock Indian village and cemeteries that would have resulted from such a settlement… .
Two young workers remove weeds from tombstones at a cemetery cleanup at Native Lands County Park.
The Lancaster-York Native Heritage Advisory Council organized the Dritt Cemetery clean up.
What we have here are Native Americans responding to a need from a venerable family that occupied land formerly occupied by the Native Americans.
Perhaps such a handshake is easier because strife between white settlers and American Indians in 18th-century York County was minimal, particularly in the Susquehanna region.
The Susquehannocks had largely succumbed to disease and war by the time that white settlers crossed the river in 1730. The Penn family’s good relationship with the Indians contributed to this peace.
Indeed, controversies between Marylanders and Pennsylvanians concerning the acreage now covered by Native Lands County Park generated more heat than any rancor between Indians and white settlers in those parts.
Ditto for the 21st century Lauxmont farms controversy.
Let York County’s Native Lands County Park become a symbol of how people with varying shades of skin and backgrounds can learn to shake hands.