Indian Affairs Committee

Contemporary Native Peoples of Maryland Fact Sheet

Information compiled by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Indian Affairs Committee (2017)

Number of American Indian/Alaska Native Residents in Maryland

Those identifying solely as American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) 20,420
Those identifying as AI/AN and another race (mixed heritage) 38,237
Total 58,657
1% of Maryland population

Of those 58,657, the Prince George’s County jurisdiction has the largest number of Native residents (11,562) and Montgomery County the second largest (9,613) with Baltimore County (7,395) and Baltimore City close behind (6,441). All statistics/demographics are from the 2010 Census.

Number of American Indian/Alaska Native Residents in United States

The number of individuals who identified themselves for the 2010 Census as solely AI/AN is 2,932,248, which is 0.9% of U.S. population. The number who identified as having mixed heritage (AI/AN plus another race) is 2,288,311. The combined total is 5,220,579, which is about 1.7% of U.S. population. 1

Location of Individual American Indian/Alaska Naive Maryland Residents

Of those 58,657 Native residents in Maryland, nearly 43 percent of them live in the Baltimore Metropolitan area and 36 percent in the National Capital area. Garrett County has the highest percentage of Indians in the general populace (4.47%) and Charles County has the second  (1.83%). They are followed by Prince George’s County, Calvert County, Baltimore City, and Caroline County.

Organized Tribes in Maryland Today

There are no federally recognized tribes in Maryland. On January 9, 2012, the Maryland government made two Piscataway groups “state recognized tribes” by executive order. 2

  • Piscataway Conoy Tribe
    • Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Sub-Tribes
    • Cedarville Band of Piscataway Indians
  • Piscataway Indian Nation

Other organized tribes in Maryland: Accohannock Indian Tribe, Assateague Peoples Tribe, Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, Inc., Pocomoke Indian Tribe, Inc, and Youghiogheny River Band of Shawnee Indians, Inc.

Ways State Has Acknowledged Native Americans

The following actions were a result of persistent advocacy by Indian leaders.

*In 1976, Maryland established a commission to represent and serve the Indigenous community.

  • To initiate direct projects that further the understanding of American Indian history and culture
  • To undertake a comprehensive study of American Indian tribes in Maryland including the Accohannock, Creek, Cherokee, Chippewa, Choptank, Delaware, Haliwa, Lumbee, Nanticoke, Nause-Waiwash, Piscataway, Pocomoke, Potomac, Rappahannock, Seminole, Shawnee, Susquehanna, and Wicomico, and explore their influences upon Maryland history and culture
  • To study the status of all American Indian groups, tribes, and communities in the State and assist them in obtaining State and/or federal recognition
  • To study the economic and social needs of American Indians in Maryland and recommend specific actions to meet those needs
  • To locate, preserve, and disseminate information to the public regarding significant sites, artifacts, and archives relating to Indian history and culture
  • To publish an annual report and any other materials that are deemed necessary
  • To assist state, local, and private agencies in addressing the educational, economic, and social needs of American Indian communities in Maryland.3

*On May 13, 2008, a bill was signed into law designating the Friday after Thanksgiving as American Indian Heritage Day, a new state holiday.

This action predated federal action that occurred in October 2008 when President George W. Bush signed into law legislation intended to pay tribute to American Indians for their many contributions to the U.S. The law also encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe the day through appropriate ceremonies and activities. Further, it encourages public elementary and secondary schools to enhance student understanding of American Indians by providing classroom instructions focusing on their history, achievements, and contributions. Maryland’s law has the same objectives.4 Proclamations often acknowledge the entire month.

*The Working Group on Native American Human Remains was established in 2008.

Established by the Secretary of Planning, the Working Group is composed of five people appointed by the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs and five by the Maryland Historical Trust. The Group has met over 13 times--working  to formulate principles, make decisions and arrangements, consider tribal preferences, address built-in tensions between archaeology and Native Nations, and handle technical problems. One appropriate place of repose has been formally established at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.5

*In 2008, the state began publicly observing November Heritage month through a “Kick-off” event.

The celebration event is open to the public. Initially held in Baltimore, the event location has begun rotating. For example, in 2014, it was held in Pomfret, which is in the heart of Piscataway country. In 2015, it was held in Annapolis. In 2016, it was held in Salisbury. The program includes the reading of the Governor’s proclamation, speeches, cultural performances, and Native food. Starting in 2016, the program included special recognition awards for Indian adults and children.6

*On January 9, 2012, Maryland gave official state recognition to two tribes, via executive orders, at a formal gathering in Annapolis.

Governor Martin O’Malley made this statement:

“Within the heart of every individual, is a spirit that yearns to be recognized. Today is a day of recognition,… it is a day of reconciliation,… and it is a day of arrival,… a day 380 years in the making. We are here, together, to reclaim for all of our children – in the generations to come – the human dignity, the common humanity, and the unity of Spirit that we lacked the loving capacity to fully recognize seven generations ago.  In legal terms, our state government has never before taken the official action of recognizing a petition for Maryland Indian Status. To all the Piscataway peoples, we know that you did not need an Executive Order to tell you who you are. I thank you for persistence, for your courage, and for your capacity for forgiveness so that, in this recognition, we might see the good people that we are meant by our One Creator to be.”

*During 2015 and 2016, no legislative activity took place on MD Native American issues.7

Location and Leadership of Maryland Indigenous Tribes8

State Recognized

  • Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Sub-Tribes, Inc. (Charles Co)
    Tribal Chair Mervin Savoy
    PO Box 1484
    LaPlata, MD 20646
    Msavoy983@aol.com
     
  • Piscataway Indian Nation, Inc. (Charles Co)
    Chief William Red Wing Tayac
    PO Box 312
    Port Tobacco, MD 20677
    Redwing60@aol.com
    www.piscatawaynation.org
    [The Choptico Band of Piscataway’s appointed speaker is Barry Wilson at barry@choptico.org]

Perhaps the best known Native American from the lands that are now called Maryland was Turkey Tayac. Tayac is the term for Piscataway leader. Turkey Tayac was instrumental in rejuvenating the Piscataway peoples, which ultimately lead to the recognition of two Piscataway Tribes in 2012. Tayac was born as Philip Sheridan Proctor in 1895. He served in France in World War I, where he suffered a mustard gas attack that almost killed him. When medical remedies failed to help, he turned to traditional healing techniques. With others, he reorganized the Piscataway-Conoy Tribe as a nonprofit entity in 1974. He lobbied for protection of Moyaone, a sacred site with ancient signs of human use, possibly including burials. The site became protected by the National Park Service as part of Piscataway National Park, near Accokeek , Maryland. Turkey Tayac died of leukemia in 1978 and is buried in the sacred area.

By one estimate, today there are 5,000 Piscataway Indians in Maryland.9

Contact Information for Other Important Tribes

Accohannock Indian Tribe, Inc. (Somerset Co)
Chief Clarence "Lone Wolf" Tyler
PO Box 404
Marion, MD 21838
Accohannock@verizon.net

Assateague Peoples Tribe (Wicomico, Worcester Co)
Chief Michael "Quiet Bear" Morbito
PO Box 63
Frankford, DE 19945
mancat732@aol.com

Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, Inc. (Dorchester Co)
Chief Donna "Wolf Mother" Abbott
212 East Appleby Avenue
Cambridge, MD 21613
410-228-0216
www.turtletracks.org

Pocomoke Indian Tribe, Inc. (Somerset Co)
Paramount Chief Norris Howard, Sr.
88 Sommers Cove
Crisfield, MD 21817
www.pocomokeindiannation.org

Youghiogheny River Band of Shawnee Indians, Inc. (Garrett Co)
Chief Joseph Crow Neale
6110 Melvern Drive
Bethesda, MD 20857
301-530-5281

 

State Agency Handling Indian Afairs

Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs
301 West Preston Street, Suite 1500
Baltimore, MD 21201
keith.colston@maryland.gov
www.americanindian.maryland.gov
410-767-7631 (voice)
410-333-7542 (fax)

In 2016, the Commission celebrated its 40th year of operation. The Governor’s Commission initiates and supports activities that promote the welfare of Maryland's Indian people and further the understanding of Indian history and culture. It provides both a forum for the concerns of Maryland's Indian communities and a liaison between them and the state and federal governments. Governor Larry Hogan signed a 2015 proclamation stating that November was American Indian Heritage Month and congratulating the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs on its meritorious service.

List of Commissioners as of 2016
  • Lisa Savoy, Chairman (Pocomoke, Charles County)
  • Ashley Minner, Vice Chair (Lumbee, Baltimore County)
  • Donna Abbott (Nause-Waiwash, Dorchester County)
  • Virginia Busby (Harford County)
  • Robert Gajdys (Mohawk, Calvert County)
  • Robert Killen, Chairman (Pocomoke, Howard County)
  • Nico Newman (Piscataway, Charles County)
  • Rebecca Johnson Stone (Chickasaw, Howard County
  • Leanora Winters (Piscataway Indian Nation, Baltimore County)

Organization and Resource Information

The Baltimore American Indian Center (BAIC) was started in 1968. It serves as a focal point for the urban Native American community for social and cultural activities and it educates non-Native people about the cultures of North American Indian. American Indians, often from rural towns, started to move into the Baltimore area around the 1940s, in hopes of obtaining better jobs. Native community leaders wanted to assist them in navigating an urban environment and in adjusting to the culture change they would experience. BAIC’s advocacy focus has provided an avenue for expressing concerns and resolving problems affecting Native people in Maryland. BAIC has assisted Indians in finding jobs and housing and with financial assistance. Throughout the years, and despite limited resources, the BAIC has run many different types of programs such as child care; traditional dancing; alcohol and drug treatment; adult basic education (GED); tutoring; training and placement; and after-school art.

Baltimore American Indian Center10
113 South Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
410-675-3535 (Office)
info@baic.org or delliej@yahoo.com
www.baic.org
BAIC now has a museum and gift shop. It sponsors an annual pow-wow and cultural classes.

Piscataway Indian Museum and Cultural Center-mobile museum
16816 Country Lane
Waldorf, MD 20601
240-640-7213
piscatawayindians@gmail.com
www.piscatawayindians.com
www.piscatawayindians.com/living-the-american-indian-experience-pro

Inter-tribal Organizations

American Indian Society of Washington, DC (founded 1966)
PO Box 6431
Falls Church, VA 22040-6431
aisdcpresident@gmail.com
aisdc.org
It owns an area called Indian Pines in Virginia

American Indian Inter-Tribal Cultural Organization, Inc. (founded 1983)
Twinbrooks Station, PO Box 775
Rockville, MD 20848
301-869-9381
Aiitco@aol.com

Additional Resources

Historic St. Mary’s City
Yaocomaco Indian Woodland Hamlet
www.stmaryscity.org

National American Indian Museum’s Cultural Resources Center (including the Archive Center)
4220 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746
301-238-1435
nmai.si.edu/explore/collections/crc/

 

Jefferson Patterson Park Indian Village
10515 Mackall Road
St. Leonard, MD 20685
410-586-8501
www.jefpat.org/village.html
The Indian Village was created in 2007 for the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of John Smith’s exploration of Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

 
Pow-wows

Several powwows have been held in Maryland for over 40 years. Contact Barry Richardson (powwow@vance.net or 252-532-0821) for pow-wow information

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-07-15/entertainment/bs-ae-family-powpow-20100715_1_powwow-baltimore-american-indian-center

A Valued Place in Maryland - Bending Water Park is acknowledged with Award

In October 2014, Maryland Traditions, the Folk life Program of the Maryland State Arts Council, announced the ALTA (Achievement in Living Traditions and Arts) Award recipients for 2014. ALTA awards are presented annually to an individual or group, a place and a tradition that embody outstanding stewardship of living traditions and help to preserve Maryland’s cultural heritage. The 2014 ALTA Award recipients are: fly-fisherman and environmental conservationist Lefty Kreh(People), Bending Water Park (Place), and The Painted Screens of Baltimore(Tradition). “In this global age, it is important to connect with the cultures that make Maryland a truly distinct place,” said Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray. “The ALTA Awards honor and celebrate the deep roots of our past and the people, places and traditions of today that keep our heritage alive.”

Bending Water Park and Indian Water Trails (Somerset County) comprise indigenous cultural landscapes and waterways on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that are deeply connected to the history and heritage of the Accohannock Indian Tribe. Bending Water Park has long been host to the Accohannocks’ annual “Healing of All Nations” Pau-wau, and is central to the continuation of traditional and contemporary ways of life of the Accohannock people. The park provides a gathering place, an outdoor museum showcasing traditional dwellings, and a campground available to the public. At the request of the Accohannock Tribal Council, in December 2014, Chief Rudy Hall accepted the ALTA Award on behalf of the Accohannock Indian Tribe.

Footnotes

1. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-10.pdf (pg 7 has state data). Also see http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/race/cb12-182.html . AI/AN populations are highest in MD counties that surround Washington, D.C. This may relate to staff of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in DC and the Indian Health Service in Rockville, MD who live in the area. Above data is from the latest Census. Nationally, 43.8% of Native people have mixed heritage. In Maryland, 65.2% have mixed heritage. In comparison, North Dakota has only 14.9%.

2. There are 3 organizational entities but only 2 Piscataway tribes. Benefits conferred or potentially obtained by state recognition are explained in a Baltimore Sun story http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-omalley-tribes-20120109%2C0%2C2292739.story And also in a broadcast on WYPR News, reporter Mary Rose Madden http://www.wypr.org/news/maryland-recognizes-indigenous-indian-tribes.

3. For the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, go to http://www.americanindian.maryland.gov . The contact person is Agnes Smith. The Governor’s office oversees the Commission.

Steven McAdams, Executive Director.
Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives
100 Community Place
Crownsville, Maryland 21032
GOCI.info@Maryland.gov

E. Keith Colston was promoted to be director of the Maryland Ethnic Commissions, in addition to his responsibilities as administrative director of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs.

4. Information on establishing the Maryland holiday and the federal holiday can be found at:

http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/chapters_noln/Ch_486_hb0083T.pdf
http://www.bia.gov/DocumentLibrary/HeritageMonth/index.htm

5. Among many tasks, the Working Group has considered criteria and options for appropriate return or places of repose for certain Native-American human remains currently in the care of the Maryland Archeological Conservation Laboratory at the Jefferson Patterson Historical Park and Museum. In 2011, committee members were Tom Bodor, Claude Bowen, Virginia Busby, Sewell Fitzhugh, Gina Hamlin, Richard Hughes, Maureen Kavanagh, Rico Newman, and Bob Wall. Most action finished in 2013.

Current activities can be discussed with the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs or with the
Maryland Historical Trust of the Department of Planning
100 Community Place
Crownsville, MD 21032
410-767-4500
877-767-6272 (toll free)
mdp@mdp.state.md.us

6. Each year’s kick-off event is detailed in the Commission’s Annual Report. It is also sometimes described online. See http://goci.maryland.gov/2016/11/01/governors-office-of-community-initiatives-celebrates-american-indian-heritage-month-at-salisbury-university/ In 2016, Jovina Chavis, Lumbee Indian Tribe; Crystal “Cryz” Nkechehosi Proctor, Cedarville Band of Piscataway Indians; and Barry Wilson, Choptico Band, Piscataway-Conoy Tribe, were all honored as Native Adults of the Year. Loren Bowman, Piscataway Conoy Tribe; Lourdes Minor, Choptico Band, Piscataway-Conoy Tribe; and Trevor Rodriguez, Lumbee Indian Tribe, were all Native Youth of the Year.

7. http://legiscan.com/MD/legislation

8. This information is from the MD Commission of Indian Affairs website. Nause-Waiwash Chief Sewell Fitzhugh died in October 2014. He was elected chief in 1993.

9. The 5,000 figure is approximate. It is mentioned in http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-01-09/news/bs-md-omalley-tribes-20120109_1_piscataway-indian-nation-piscataway-conoy-confederacy-tribal-recognition . It should be noted that many Indians live in the state who are not members of the tribes native to Maryland; a number are members of the Lumbee tribe who moved from North Carolina.

10. BAIC has also coordinated with local institutions such as Johns Hopkins. In addition, the BAIC wants to help keep the Native culture and traditions alive.

The University of North Carolina has a Native American Tribal Studies Course on Lumbee history that includes discussion of the Baltimore American Indian Center, including interviews. http://lumbee.web.unc.edu/online-exhibits-2/racial-classification/

Further Background Information

General Information for Region

“Native Americans in Maryland,” www.lib.umd.edu/guides/Marylandia

“American Indians: Tribes Today,” Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, National Park Service www.smithtrail.net/native-americans/tribes-today.aspx

“The Enduring Legacy of Southern Maryland's Native Peoples” by Anne Carson, Southern Maryland This is Living somdthisisliving.somd.com/archive/vol5num3/NativePeoples.html

"Setting the Story Straight,” by Lara Lutz, Chesapeake Bay Journal (March 2008) www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=3282

“Piscataway Park's role evolved from saving a view to sharing a point of view” by Lara Lutz, Chesapeake Bay Journal (Dec 2008) www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=3476

“17th-Century Indian Fort Discovered Near Waldorf: Piscataway Artifacts Reveal a Vibrant Culture,” St. Mary’s College of Maryland (Sept 15, 2011)

“Planned Heritage Center to Give Voice to State’s Women and Tell Their Story,” by Jamie Stieham, Baltimore Sun (March 20, 2007) articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-03-20/news/0703200131_1_maryland-women-museum-of-maryland-cultural-heritage

Focus on Specific Tribes

darkroom.baltimoresun.com/category/the-baltimore-sun/archives/

“Keeping an Indian Culture Alive,” by Greg Trasker, Baltimore Sun (Oct. 16, 1994) articles.baltimoresun.com/1994-10-16/news/1994289068_1_shawnee-indians-mountains-friendsville

bellaremyphotography.com/2013/02/18/the-native-beat-of-the-drum/

History: Chief Turkey Tayac (Philip Sheridan Proctor) 1895-1978

“Rediscovering The Piscataway Hub of Moyaone,” by Rebecca Sheir (Dec. 16, 2011), radio program with pictures and text. wamu.org/programs/metro_connection/11/12/16/rediscovering_a_sacred_site_on_the_potomac_the_piscataway_hub_of_moyaone_0

 “First People of the Potomac,” www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=8560

“Piscataway Indian Nation,” by John Steinbach, Washington Peace Center newsletter Vol 41, #1 (Jan. 2005) http://washingtonpeacecenter.org/sites/default/files/05jan-pl.pdf

Encyclopedia Bio www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Turkey_Tayac

“The Legacy of Chief Turkey Tayac” www.piscatawaynation.org/tayacs.htm or www.piscatawaynation.org/about.html

State Recognition Process and Success

“Maryland Recognition of Piscataways Adds Happy Note to Complicated History: Tribes continued fighting for official recognition through internal conflicts, gubernatorial rejections,” by Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun (Jan. 16, 2012) http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-01-16/news/bs-md-piscataway-history-20120116_1_mervin-savoy-billy-tayac-piscataway-indian-nation

“O’Malley Formally Recognizes Piscataway Tribe: Native Marylanders had been seeking official status for years,” by Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun (Jan. 9, 2012) http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-omalley-tribes-20120109%2C0%2C2292739.story

“Two Maryland Indian Tribes Won’t Seek Federal Recognition,” by Mark Miller, Daily Record (Jan 16, 2012) http://thedailyrecord.com/2012/01/16/two-maryland-indian-tribes-won%e2%80%99t-seek-federal-recognition/

Additional Feature Stories

“Thanksgiving Stirs Mixed Emotions for Local Indians,” by Danielle Gaines, front page story, The Gazette (Rockville, Aspen Hill) http://ww2.gazette.net/stories/11242010/damanew231839_32534.php

https://unwindumd.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/groups-work-toward-change-during-native-american-heritage-month/

http://blog.nmai.si.edu/main/2013/11/meet-native-america-e-keith-colston.html

Books and Education Materials

We Have a Story to Tell: People of the Chesapeake Region education module nmai.si.edu/sites/1/files/pdf/education/chesapeake.pdf

IndiVisible: African-Native Lives in the Americas by Gabrielle Tayac

Meet Naiche: A Native Boy from the Chesapeake Bay Area. Children’s book by Gabrielle Tayac

Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans by Alison Owings (2011) includes information on Lumbees


This profile/fact sheet was prepared by volunteers for the Indian Affairs Committee of Baltimore Yearly Meeting (established by Quakers in 1795) based on the most reliable information that could be obtained. Total accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Indian Affairs Committee
Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
17100 Quaker Lane Sandy Spring, MD 20860
http://www.bym-rsf.org/what_we_do/committees/indian/