Old Dominion University

Maryland recognition of Accohannock tribe sparks debate within community of Native Americans

Maryland recognition of Accohannock tribe sparks debate within community of Native Americans

When he needed to clear his head as a boy, Clarence Lone Wolf Tyler would head to the western shore of Smith Island to look for Indian arrowheads.

Tyler, a Native American of the Accohannock tribe, learned the technique from his father: look in the clumps of roots of the marsh reeds after a high tide. The grass died off from exposure to saltwater, but the roots remained intact.

For centuries, Tyler says, his people concealed their native identity in Maryland, hiding in plain sight from the white man, to avoid the discrimination and segregation inflicted on African-Americans.

Tyler’s family took a crab boat to secret native meetings, he says, where they invoked the...

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