Maryland Indian Tribes

Native American Indian Tribes in Maryland

The main existing Indian Tribe in Maryland seems to be the Piscataway. They are MD State recognized (finally), but as is often the case with bigoted bureaucracy not Federally recognized.

The Piscataway are a sub-tribe of the Conoy Tribe, one of the most prominent historic tribes of the Chesapeake Bay area. Their Algonquin dialect evolved from Nanticoke, having established roots here over 10,000 years ago as hunters and gatherers. They lived very much like the Potowomac Tribe, along the Potomac River; by 800 AD they grew maize, beans, squash, and pumpkins. Today there are 2 main Piscataway groups in Southern MD: The Nation (Chief Tayak), and The Tribe (Confederacy and Cedarville Band). They have no reservation land.

 2010: Frederick County had 800+ Residents that considered themselves Native American; Maryland Indians total: 25,000+ of which 8,000+ are Piscataway. Together with dramatic decreases in population due to disease, when American Indian reservations were dissolved by the Maryland Colony in the eighteenth century, and when the Piscataway were reclassified as “free people of color”, “Free Negro” or “mulatto” on state and federal census records in the nineteenth century, a process of detribalization was happening. While the Piscataway were enumerated as “mulattos” in state and federal census records, by contrast Catholic parish records and ethnographic reports continued to identify Piscataway individuals and families as Indians.

 Historically many tribes came together on the Rivers to barter:  Potowomac, Senedoes, Catawba, Iroquois, Tutelo, Saponi, Conoy, Piscataway, Delaware, Lenape, Powhatan, Shawnee, Susquehannok, Nanticoke… and they had populations of hundreds of thousands.

The old Maryland village of Piscataway where the Potomac meets the Chesapeake, must have been named as an homage to the tribe.

We do not have many records detailing how the all the tribes in Maryland looked; however we can generalize dress and appearance based on the many drawings and descriptions of Powhatans just south of Maryland in Virginia.

PowhatanIndianhouse

It is unclear why this map does not have the Conoy tribes on here; perhaps the Powhatan claimed Conoy land at some point during the records.

maryland tribes

 

 

 

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