Natalie Proctor and Mervin Savoy, both of the Piscataway-Conoy Confederacy, embrace at a 2012 ceremony to celebrate Maryland's recognition of two tribes of Piscataway Indians.

Natalie Proctor and Mervin Savoy, both of the Piscataway-Conoy Confederacy, embrace at a 2012 ceremony to celebrate Maryland's recognition of two tribes of Piscataway Indians.

Last week, the Trump administration granted federal recognition to six American Indian tribes in Virginia. The move makes those tribes eligible for federal funding, but a neighboring tribe in Maryland’s Prince George’s county is opting not to apply. We explore what federal recognition means for tribes, and hear from the tribal chief and her daughter from the Piscataway Conoy Tribe of Maryland.

Guests

  • Natalie Proctor Tribal Chairwoman, Cedarville Band of Piscataway Indians Wild Turkey Clan
  • Crystal Proctor Executive Producer, Piscataway public programming: Living the American Indian Experience

Piscataway Conoy Tribal Singing

Natalie Proctor and her daughter, Crystal Proctor, sang two songs in our studio. You can listen to them here.

Native Origins of Local Names

Disclaimer: Nothing is certain in the world of translation and many different people have found different meanings of these words. The words themselves, our guests say, have been watered down to their English-friendly versions. 

Accokeek  

Meaning: “Rising ground.” The name refers to a tribe, related to the Piscataway, that lived along the Potomac River in what is now Prince George’s County.

Origin: Algonquian 

Anacostia  

Meaning: “River of trade.” The name “Anacostia” derives from the Nacotchtank, a settlement of Necostan or Anacostan Native Americans along the Anacostia River. 

Origin: Algonquian 

Chesapeake  

Meaning: “Chesepiooc” refers to “shellfish waters.” 

Origin: Algonquian 

Patapsco 

Meaning: Derived from pota-psk-ut, meaning “backwater” or “tide covered with froth.” 

Origin: Algonquian 

Piscataway  

Meaning: “Long river with a fork.” The Piscataway were once the most populous tribe in the Chesapeake Bay region.  

Origin: Algonquian 

Potomac 

Meaning: Some say “river of swans.” Others: a “place for trade.” Potomac is a European spelling, which has shifted over the years from Patawomeke to Patowmack and finally Potomac.  

Origin: Algonquian 

Quantico 

Meaning: “Place of dancing.” The word comes from the name of a Doeg village. 

Origin: Algonquian, the Doeg people. 

Susquehanna 

Meaning: “Oyster River.” Susquehanna is derived from the term Sisa’we’hak’hanna. 

Origin: Algonquian, the Len’api people.

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