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They Walked These Paths Before Us: Honoring the Indigenous History of Orange County

Quassaic, Kowawese, Skonanokee, Mistucky ~ Sound familiar? These are Native American place names in Orange County. Find out their meanings at a lecture to be given by Evan Pritchard, a descendant of the Mi'kmaq who are a First Nations people indigenous to Canada’s Maritime Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec and who also live in Newfoundland and northeast Maine, but are of the common origin of the Algonquins.

Pritchard, (Abachbahamitch in Mi’kmaq) who has studied with elders, and, in turn, has developed programs and taught at many colleges and universities including Marist, Vassar, and Pace, is presently the director of the Center for Algonquin Culture in Rosendale, N.Y. He studied Orange County’s local indigenous language, Munsee Delaware, with the esteemed late elder Beulah Timothy.

"They Walked These Paths Before Us: Honoring the Indigenous History of Orange County", a talk on local Native American history, will take place in the OCTC Great Room 101 in Kaplan Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Beginning with drum songs and cedar flute, Pritchard will share translations, identify major villages, and describe how Newburgh has always been a hub for travel on land and water, and why the marina was one of the most important Native American ferry boat landings in the mid-Hudson region. Using maps, Pritchard will also explain how Routes 52, 32, 9W, 94, and 207 owe their existence to Native American ingenuity.

An award-winning historian, Pritchard received the Helen Wilkinson Reynolds Lifetime Achievement award for New York State History. He is well known for his commentaries on the History Channel and radio appearances. Pritchard has authored many books including "Native New Yorkers" and "Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York," as well as "No Word For Time," and "Bird Medicine."  He has also published extensively on the Lenape, including "Introduction to Lenape Words and Phrases" and "Touring Native New York." His books have been published in French, Spanish, Korean, and other languages.

Free, secure parking is available in the Kaplan Hall parking garage via the 73 First Street entrance.

For more information, contact Cultural Affairs at or call (845) 341-4891/9386, or visit the website

Event date, time and location.

Joanne Zipay
Cultural Affairs