My name is Bee and I am Mvskoke, a Native American tribe located in Oklahoma. In honor of my ancestors, I am writing to you from my home in Annapolis, on stolen Susquehannock and Piscataway land.
We would like to take a moment to honor the legacy-past, present, and future-of the Native American people on this land. It is our responsibility to acknowledge the ongoing effects of settler colonialism, and to recognize that we benefit from the displacement, genocide, and past and present violence against Indigenous people on whose ancestral lands present-day United States, including the state of Maryland, stands.
We acknowledge the Accohannock Indian Tribe, Assateague Peoples Tribe, Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, Piscataway Conoy Tribe, Piscataway Indian Nation, Pocomoke Indian Nation and Youghiogheny River Band of Shawnee Indians as the original stewards of Maryland's lands. See the historical boundaries, languages, and treaties of the tribes in Maryland here.
We acknowledge all Native American peoples in Maryland and on the wider Turtle Island, including those who are displaced and detribalized, who have had their identities and cultures stolen through the larger effects of colonialism and assimilation.
When we say we are working toward a more just and equitable future for Marylanders, that includes our Indigenous communities. There is so much work to be done—passing federal and state legislation for reparations; formally acknowledging Indigenous history and land rights; and, of course, ensuring that Native residents have affordable healthcare and housing, access to quality education, clean air and drinking water, and the many other basic human rights that everyone deserves. Progressive Maryland is committed to this work.
This month provides an opportunity to celebrate rich and diverse traditions, cultures, and histories and to acknowledge the unique contributions of Native people. Discover ways to appropriately reflect Native values in your life this month, such as finding new ways to be sustainable to the land and resources around you. In honor of my Mvskoke ancestors, I encourage you to not only take today to learn more about Native American history and cultures, but to do more in the fight for Native American people. We promise we will do the same.
Bee Van Hall (they/them)
Social Media Coordinator for Progressive Maryland
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