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Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs Celebrates First-Ever Virtual 7th Annual American Indian Heritage Month Through Partnership Panel, Awards

Governor Larry Hogan Proclaims November as American Indian Heritage Month

ANNAPOLIS, MD—The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI), the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, the Maryland Commission on African History and Culture, Maryland Department of Health, and the University of Maryland, College Park partnered to host the first-ever virtual kickoff on November 2nd to commemorate the 7th Annual American Indian Heritage Month. The event included a panel discussion on “Pathways to Partnerships,” a presentation of community awards, and lively cultural performances for more than 100 attendees. Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation recognizing the month of November as American Indian Heritage Month. In 2017, Governor Larry Hogan granted Maryland Indian Status to the Accohannock Tribe in Maryland to protect their heritage and culture. Nearly 60,000 people with American Indian heritage live in Maryland.

“The Hogan administration understands that it is the diversity of our communities that make up the strength of our state,” said Steven McAdams, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. “Our office is proud to help promote and share the heritage of our citizens while connecting Marylanders to needed resources state wide.”

GOCI and the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs’ ongoing advocacy efforts also include distributing masks and other personal protective equipment to tribal community organizations during COVID-19 and supporting Census 2020 outreach. To date, over 21,000 PPE items have been distributed to tribal communities through Governor’s Commissioners and tribal leaders.

“The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives has played a major role in the fight against COVID-19 by providing PPE and consistent updates for American Indians and indigenous communities,” said Keith Colston, Administrative Director of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, Tuscarora and an enrolled member of the Lumbee tribe. “Under Governor Hogan’s support and leadership, our commission has created initiatives and partnerships that were not present before.”

The Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs works to serve as a statewide clearinghouse for information; to identify unmet social and economic needs of the native community; to support government education programs for American Indian youth; to provide support in the process of obtaining recognition of state and federal Indian status; and to promote the awareness and understanding of historical and contemporary American Indian contributions in Maryland.

“This event reminds me of why I have been serving on this commission and marks the impact we have made together on tribal communities that our commissioners are proud of,” said Ms. Lisa Savoy, Chair of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs. “I would like to thank Governor Larry Hogan and his administration for their continued commitment to bringing opportunity, fiscal responsibility, and excellent customer service to all Marylanders.”

The 2020 Awards included Volunteer of the Year, Mike Hinman – Accohannock Tribe; Youth of the Year, Janelle Rodriguz – Lumbee Tribe; and Adults of the Year, Danny Michael Hinman – Accohannock Tribe; Hope Butler – Piscataway Conoy Tribe; Ani Auld – Navajo Tribe; Ayden Allston – Nottoway Tribe; Andrew Thompson IV – Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma. To learn more about these awards and see presentation slides from the celebration, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

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