Lt. Governor Brown Kicks Off American Indian Heritage Month
Celebratory Event Launches November Activites around Maryland
BALTIMORE, MD (November 1, 2012) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today joined the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs to kick-off the official observance of American Indian Heritage Month in the State of Maryland. This year marks the first time the state will celebrate the event with recognized indigenous American Indian tribes. Governor Martin O’Malley signed Executive Orders in January that made the Piscataway Indian Nation, the Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Subtribes and the Cedarville Band of Piscataway the first recognized tribes in Maryland history.
“American Indians have made invaluable contributions to Maryland, and American Indian Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate those contributions and honor their proud history,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs and other community leaders to ensure that American Indians remain central not just to Maryland’s past, but also to our present and our future.”
Students from the Baltimore Indian Education Program participated in the celebration in the lobby of the Herbert R. O’Conor Building in Baltimore, where Lt. Governor Brown presented the Governor’s Proclamation. In partnership with the Baltimore American Indian Center, the Baltimore Indian Education Program supports the efforts of local educational agencies, Indian tribes and organizations, postsecondary institutions, and other entities to meet the unique educational and culturally-related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Native students to help them meet high academic standards.
The festivities featured traditional Native dancing, cultural presentations, crafts, information booths and vendors offering complimentary American Indian cuisine. Representatives of Native American Lifelines of Baltimore supplied informational materials during the program.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 23,162 Native Americans live in Maryland. There are eight tribes indigenous to Maryland, including the Piscataway Indian Nation, Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Sub-tribes, Cedarville Band of Piscataway, Accohannock, Pocomoke, Nause-Waiwash, Assateague, and Shawnee Indians.
During its 2008 general session, the Maryland General Assembly approved House Bill 83, establishing the fourth Friday of November as American Indian Heritage Day, a legal holiday recognizing the proud history, rich cultural heritage and vital contributions of American Indians to the State of Maryland. Governor Martin O’Malley proclaimed November 28, 2008, the first annual American Indian Heritage Day in Maryland. American Indian Heritage Month in Maryland is recognized in conjunction with the national celebration of National Native American Heritage Month.