Native Americans in Gaithersburg, Maryland
Gaithersburg, Maryland, a city rich in history and culture, has a significant Native American heritage. The city's Native American roots date back to around 10,000 BC, long before settlers began to inhabit Maryland in 1634. Today, Gaithersburg continues to honor and celebrate its Native American heritage, particularly during Native American Heritage Month in November.
The indigenous peoples who inhabited the area that is now Maryland were primarily Algonquin tribes, although both Iroquois and Siouan also maintained a presence. The specific tribes that lived in the area include the Accohannock, Assateaque, Choptank, Delaware, Matapeake, Nanticoke, Piscataway, Pocomoke, and Shawnee. However, it's important to note that tribal territories were not confined to the modern borders of states, so these tribes would have moved throughout the region. The history and culture of these tribes are still celebrated today in Gaithersburg and throughout Maryland.
Native American Heritage Month, recognized nationwide, holds special significance in Gaithersburg. The city comes alive with educational presentations, programs, and a proclamation highlighting the culture, heritage, and achievements of their Native American neighbors.
Here are some of the key events in Gaithersburg:
1. Educational and Cultural Presentations: The city hosts educational presentations and programs that highlight the culture, heritage, and achievements of Native Americans. These presentations include virtual programming and are posted on the Special Events Facebook Page throughout November.
2. Casey Farmers Market Special Display: A special display is set up at the Casey Farmers Market featuring Ekowah Coffee, a Native American owned and operated socially responsible coffee roaster, and Running Strong with American Indian Youth. A portion of the profits from sales benefits Running Strong for American Indian Youth.
3. Reading of “Fry Bread”: A Native American Family Story. The Casey Community Center conducts a reading of Kevin Noble Maillard’s “Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story”.
4. American Indian Heritage Day: Celebrated on the fourth Friday of November in the state of Maryland, this day honors the native and indigenous people who have significantly contributed to the rich fabric of history and culture.
These events not only celebrate the rich cultural traditions and proud ancestry of Native Americans, but also recognize the vital contributions they have made and continue to make to the art, history and traditions.