Learning about the culture and history of Maryland’s Native-American tribes can provide you with a great deal of information and insight into this unique people. The history of American settlement and colonization is a large tale, with many bylines and footnotes that often escape notice. Educating yourself on the role that the Natives of this region played in the formation and shaping of our country can be a very rewarding subject of study. Developing a more well-rounded and effective understanding of the world in which we live can often require students to take a ( More … )
As a researcher, it’s my job to study and share what I know about the Native Americans of this country. Did you know that there are no federally recognized tribes in Maryland today? There were plenty in the beginning but most of the Native Americans were forced to leave in the 1700s.
However, just because they were displaced, doesn’t mean they are all extinct and below is a list of the original inhabitants of Maryland:
The Lenape Tribe
Said to be extinct, such is not the case and there are, in fact, 11,000 Lenape living in Oklahoma.
The Nanticoke Tribe
This tribe was notable for sheltering escaped slaves during the early days of American history.
The Powhatan Tribe
Believed to be named for Chief Powhatan, he was the father of the much-romanticized Pocahontas.
The Shawnee and Ohio Valley Tribes
There was a great special about these tribes on television recently and if you have a Cable-tv.com provider, you might have seen it. Their leader, Tecumseh was instrumental in uniting the eastern tribes.
The Susquehannock Tribe
Devastated by small pox and violence, they are unfortunately extinct.
The Tutelo and Saponi Tribes
Much of the language has been lost as the last fluent speaker died in the 90s.
Today The Nanticoke Indians speak English. When John Smith first discovered the tribe, they spoke a dialect of the Algonquian language. The Algonquian language is the most common Indian language of tribes of the Northeast. The word Nanticoke means the tidewater people in Algonquian. Their native language is often coined as, Nanticoke, but it has not been spoken since the late 1800′s. The shared Algonquian language served the tribe with common ground when trading with other tribes. Wampum, and Algonquian word for “white strings,” was their shared medium of exchange. Wampum ( More … )
The Nanticoke Indians would hunt large game animals for their food, tools and clothing. The large animal skins provided enough materials to make clothing for the whole tribe. The skins were softened and cut into an apron-like garment for both men and women to wear. Often the garments would later be decorated with shells, polished bone, feathers or beads for added style. The men’s clothing was usually more elaborately decorated than the women’s clothing. In harsh ( More … )
Hailing from the Northeastern Woodlands, the Lenape Tribe are part of the larger Algonquin group of Native Americans. When Europeans first came in contact with the Lenape, the tribe had become more or less sedentary.
No longer nomadic, the Lenape traveled between permanent camps on a seasonal basis. This gave them the opportunity to become farmers. Maize, beans and squash were planted together in a technique known as companion planting. Companion planting increases crop yield by placing crops together to benefit each ( More … )
At the time of European arrival in North America, the Lenape Indians lived in what is now the Delaware Bay area, including the northeast corner of Maryland, the Schuylkill, Delaware and lower Hudson River valleys, and western Long Island. The Lenape were decimated by European diseases and caught in the middle of European wars, so they were forced to move further west and north. There are still communities of the Lenape in Ontario, Wisconsin and Oklahoma, where they were grouped with the Cherokee for decades.
The ( More … )