For decades, the Nanticoke Indian Tribe owned only a small 1-acre plot of their ancestral land where a historic school was located. The tribe had no other presence in the state and leased lands for its annual pow-wow and other tribal functions. So when an adjacent 31 acres went up for sale next door, it quickly became a priority for the tribe to reclaim and protect that land for traditional uses like agriculture and education for generations to come.

Chief Natosha Norwood Carmine — the first woman chief in the tribe’s history — was instrumental in making this project a reality for the Nanticoke community.

“This isn’t about one person. It’s not about me as chief. This is about us as a community, as a tribe, wanting to preserve our heritage, our culture and our traditions so they can be passed down from generation to generation.”

—Chief Carmine

The 31-acres will help the Native Roots Farm Foundation — a Nanticoke initiative — carry out its mission of sustainable and native farming on ancestral lands. It is also directly adjacent to the Nanticoke Indian Museum, formerly the old Nanticoke Indian School. The museum is owned and operated by the tribe and is the only Native American Museum in Delaware.

The old Harmon School (left; courtesy of the State of Delaware) is now the Nanticoke Indian Museum (right; courtesy of National Register of Historic Places).


Conservation is not just a tool for protecting our environment, but also for preserving our history and culture. We were able to support the tribe’s efforts by acquiring the property when it went up for sale and donating it to the Nanticoke Indian Tribe for their ongoing ownership. The donation was made possible with generous funding Mt. Cuba Center. The land will remain protected in perpetuity thanks to a conservation easement held by the State of Delaware, funded by the Delaware Open Space Council.