An executive order issued by the State of Maryland has at long last given the Accohannock Indian Tribe official Indian status.

On Tuesday, December 19, the Accohannock Native American Tribe was granted Maryland Indian Status by the state. Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford made the announcement of the Tribe becoming the third officially recognized Native American Tribe in the state. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, the Piscataway Indian Nation and the Piscataway-Canoy tribes were the only other Native American groups in Maryland to have been recognized after Governor Martin O’Malley granted the groups' status in 2012. Even though the executive order recognizing the Accohannock tribe has been approved by the Governor, a review by the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee will be done in the weeks ahead and the order will go into effect in 30 days. Indian Tribes are granted status after a petition is presented to the state’s Commission on Indian Affairs. An extensive review then takes place, and it either gets approved or rejected by the Governor. The Accohannock’s neighboring tribe, the Pocomoke Tribe, has also recently sought Tribe Status recognition but still has not yet been officially recognized.
58,000 Maryland residents are of Native American descent. Indian Tribe Status makes the Accohannocks eligible for non-profit grants and assistance from the state and federal governments, which is used to provide resources to the Tribe’s members as well as funding for things such as welcome centers, museums and cultural events and celebrations which are free and open to the public. The Accohannock tribe resides mostly along the Eastern Shore; the tribe played a key role in helping the first settlers learn how to survive off the land. The Accohannock tribe is very active in helping to build the community and currently maintains and operates Somerset County’s Bending Water Park, where it also holds an annual Pow-Wow. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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