New Dining Hall to Honor Indigenous People of Maryland

By Karen Shih ’09 | Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

The university’s first new dining hall in nearly 50 years will bear a name from the Algonquian language spoken by the Piscataway, on whose ancestral lands the university stands today.

“Yahentamitsi” (Yah-hen-tuh-meet-c), a term meaning “a place to go to eat,” will open in Fall 2022 in the new Heritage Community that also includes the Pyon-Chen and Johnson-Whittle residence halls.

“This campus has been here for a very long time— yet many of us were blind to its history,” President Darryll J. Pines said at the dining hall’s ground blessing ceremony in November. “As a land-grant institution, I believe it is our responsibility to record, to interpret and to raise public awareness about tribal history.”

Yahentamitsi will feature art, artifacts and other educational materials from the Piscataway people. The name was developed in partnership with Piscataway elders and tribal members, as well as UMD faculty, staff and students, including the American Indian Student Union (AISU).

“Having a beautiful place like this... makes me feel like I have a space here on campus that I can truly say represents myself, this represents my people, this represents my family,” says AISU treasurer Jeremy Harley ’23, a member of the Piscataway Conoy tribe.


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