First State Celebrates Historic Nanticoke Burial Ground - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

First State Celebrates Historic Nanticoke Burial Ground

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LEWES, Del. - A Delaware Native American tribe has reason to celebrate after a burial ground of their ancestors became a state historic landmark.

"This is about our legacy," said Darryl Daisey, the fifth-generation of the earliest-known Daisey ancestors from the late-18th century.

The First State honors the early ancestors of the Coursey-Daisey Nanticokes with the dedication of a cemetery.  It's the resting place for 23 members of the tribe.      

"It's a point in time in history in Delaware where we actually are recognizing a very historical piece of land that is actually a burial ground," said Stephen Marz, the Director of Delaware Public Archives. 

Chief William Daisey calls this special occasion not only a celebration, but a reflection of his past.

"We've remained hidden in fact for many years for our own survival and we had to," said Chief Daisey, a fourth-generation Nanticoke and father of Darryl. "If you popped up, you were targeted and you didn't want to be targeted."

For his kids, it meant growing up without much knowledge of their ancestors.

"I'm 51 years old, so when I was a little kid, there wasn't a pow wow, there wasn't a time to share the heritage and culture.  There wasn't a time to learn about it," said Darryl Daisey.

The Coursey-Daisey Nanticoke Burial Ground is located at the Eagle Point Development in Lewes, Del.  Though most of the land is used for townhouses, nothing can be built on top of the burial ground.

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