Welcome to the Assateague People of Delmarva's website. We are a tribal group comprised mainly of local people with Native American Indian blood in our heritage. Many believe that there are no longer Native Indians on the Eastern Shore, this is far from the truth. Granted, our Ancestors’ numbers were decimated by a combination of diseases that were unknown to them and by being forced from their homeland by the ever growing number of European settlers in search of land for themselves. Although many perished in the hundreds of years following the settlers’ arrival, some were able to survive by hiding along the swamps, marshes, bay and ocean of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Historically we were known as the Kickotanks (because of the location of the Kegotank Bay), or the Great Assateagues (Assateague means “swiftly running water” or "place across the water"). After we realized the atrocities brought by the settlers and started fighting back to reclaim our lands and protect our people, we gained the reputation of being the most warlike of the Shore Indians. Unfortunately, it was too late to be able to have a major impact. Native Indians as a whole were very trusting, giving and had no concept of “owning land”. We believe that the Creator owns the land, we are only the caretakers of Mother Earth.
As with most overrun cultures, many of us became assimilated into the intruders way of life. It became a growing disgrace to be Native. Our stories and traditions were only spoke about in small, quiet circles since it was illegal for Natives to gather in groups larger than three at a time. We were even altered in the census records. Despite efforts by the invaders to destroy beliefs and traditions, our strong spirited Ancestors were able to pass some of them on to us. We know it is our responsibility to teach the next seven generations and so on to keep our history alive. Because many of our tribal ways have been lost throughout the years we have also adopted some from our plains brethren that are willing to share their traditions.
Living in this modern world and trying to stay as traditional as possible is not an easy task. Yes, we live in typical homes, hold jobs, use cell phones and drive vehicles. We use electricity and indoor bathrooms. Our children watch T.V. and play video games. We also understand it is important to remember what it means to be Native and to pass that knowledge on to our young ones. As our Ancestors before us, we try to instill in our children a sense of values that we hold dear. Knowing our place in this natural world and our responsibility to protect and respect all of it. To honor The Great Spirit every day and remember that we are all connected, including all of our brothers and sisters: the two-legged and the four-legged, the winged ones and the finned ones, the crawly ones, the plants and the trees. Mitakuye Oyasin (All my relations).