The 25-foot hand-chiseled totem pole that stands watching over the incoming ships, tourists, and fisherman at Inlet Park in downtown Ocean City was a gift to the State of Maryland. The carving, completed in 1976, represents an Assateague Indian. The Assateague Indians called the shores of Maryland and Virginia home until the mid-1700’s.
The Native Americans were generally a friendly tribe, until the European settlers docked their ships off of Assateague’s coast and tried to make the natives give up their land. The Assateauges did not like the idea of giving their land, that was the perfect place for crabbing, hunting, fowling, and fishing, to never-before-seen and unfamiliar men. The land ownership conflicts resulted in the 1662 Maryland Treaty and the disappearance of every tribe member as well as a new European settlement.
World-famous artist, Peter Toth, created 50 totem poles – one in each state – to promote unity among all people. The carving of the Assateague Indian was placed in the Inlet Park as a tribute to the Native American Culture that once thrived in Ocean City.