November is Native American Indian Heritage month, and the Pittsburgh region is full of rich Native American Indian history to explore from battleground sites to towns settled by Native Americans. Take a trip to some of the nearby areas that authentically commemorate Naive American contributions to the region.
Kiskiminetas Old Town
Southern Bank of Kiskiminetas River
Hyde Park, PA 15641
North of Pittsburgh sits the site of an an old Native American town along the Kiskiminetas River. Known as a place where pack animals went to rehabilitate in the meadows along the river, Kiskiminetas Old Town is only a reference in history books now after being destroyed during various wars. Though little is commemorated on site, this area is a lovely and quiet place to visit to pay homage to the former town. Take a picnic lunch and sit along the river while you take in the beautiful wildflowers that grow along the meadows.
Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
This special permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland pays tribute to Native Americans by focusing on the deep connection the Native Americans had with the natural world. The exhibit also draws upon the special connection Native Americans had with Pittsburgh’s steel industry. Though the exhibit displays artifacts from each region of Native American tribes, the Iroquois of the Allegheny Valley are highlighted extensively. After your visit to the museum, be sure to check out the award-winning online exhibit as well.
Museum of Indian Culture
2825 Fish Hatchery Road
Allentown, PA 18103
If you have the option of a long weekend, take a trip to Allentown to visit this museum dedicated entirely to Indian culture, relics and history. Guided tours are suggested, and if your interest keeps you there past your guided tour, there is a research library on site where you may browse through a wealth of historical documents. Check the website for featured exhibits that highlight aspects of Native American culture such as pottery making, beadwork and toolmaking.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield
One Washington Parkway
Farmington, PA 15437
Regulated and operated by the National Parks Service, Fort Necessity is an incredible piece of history right here in the Pittsburgh region. Located about an hour and a half from downtown Pittsburgh, Fort Necessity was the scene of the first battle of the French and Indian War in 1754. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center at the beginning of your visit to talk to the park ranger on duty and to watch a short documentary about the historical significance of Fort Necessity.
Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center
120 Charles St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
The Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center was established in 1969 to give Pittsburgh-based Native Americans a place to network and share their culture. Throughout the years, the center has provided assistance to the Native American community and offered pow wows and other special events to keep the younger generation of Native Americans engaged in their heritage. One of the most active services offered is the Elders’ Program. The program offers outreach to hard-to-reach or shut-in elders in the Native American community, assistance with finances, recreation to keep elders engaged and an emergency food bank to those members of the community in need. If a trip to a Native American Indian cultural site isn’t a possibility, consider a donation to the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center to honor Native American Indian Heritage Month.
Sally Turkovich Wright lives in her beloved city of Pittsburgh with her husband, Jason and German Shepherd, Zeus. She is a policy analyst by training, an eyewear stylist by trade and an amateur healthy-living advocate by choice. She also writes a column for Twoday Magazine. Catch up with her there at twodaymag.com. Her work can be found at Twodaymag.com.