Maryland Traditions Folklife Area
Pocomoke Indian Nation
dugout canoe making, flint knapping, and hide stretching
photo credit: Shorewoods Photography — Deb and Art Rose
The Pocomoke Indian Nation is a non-profit organization composed of descendants of one of the indigenous populations of the Delmarva Peninsula. The Pocomoke were a large and widespread group that exercised significant influence in the region. When Europeans first arrived in the Chesapeake Bay, the Pocomoke occupied a territory that included what is now Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties in Maryland; southern Sussex County in Delaware; and northern Accomac County in Virginia. This territory was peopled with clusters of villages that stretched along the banks of the Annemessex, Manoakin, and Pocomoke rivers and bays, and the Bay of Chincoteague.
Today, the Pocomoke are led by Chief Norris Howard. They are primarily concerned with passing on the heritage and lifeways of the indigenous peoples of Delmarva. Members of the Pocomoke Nation work with organizations like Pocomoke River State Park, Delmarva Discovery Center, Salisbury University, and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art to promote their community initiatives and educate the general public about the history of the region and the peoples who inhabited it. They share their culture and lifeways through oral presentations, live demonstrations, and classes on native skills, arts, and customs. They have significant interpretive experience with local heritage and education offerings throughout the Eastern Shore, including pottery demonstrations, dugout canoe making, and artifact displays.