Hogan Signs Bill Renaming Indian Head Highway

UPDATE: I’m sure by now you have heard that the Bill is not being interpreted by the Maryland State Highway Administration nor the Maryland Department of Transportation as a name change, rather a designation without a name change-with a placement of two signs for Piscataway Highway. 

We understood Designation as the act of selecting, identifying or naming-which we all understood as the Renaming of the Highway. We were very clear in our Seven-year plight that we all wanted the name changed. The almost 5,000 supporters on Change.org were clear when they signed the petition. The several thousand others -including Piscataway Conoy Tribal Members and Piscataway Indian Nation Members were clear when they signed the petition. County Executive Alsobrooks was clear when she wrote a letter of support -changing the derogatory name. Delegate Walker was clear in his several years of attempts to change the name-both when he sponsored the bill, as well as when he testified for the bill. Full Bi-Partisan of all Delegates and Senators were clear when they were in support of the name change and voted accordingly. Hundreds upon hundreds, if not thousands of Marylanders, as well as Piscataway Conoy Tribal members were clear when they began calling, emailing etc when Senator Kelley stalled the bill. I believed that the Governor and I were clear, both at the signing of the bill and again on April 26, 2022, when the Governor and his wife congratulated us on the changing of the name at his daughter’s event. 

We, the original inhabitants of this land feel very bamboozled and defeated. This must be how our ancestors felt when Chief Wannas was so accepting to Lord Calvert and Father White-helped shelter them and the other colonists, helped them survive, helped protect them from neighboring tribes-to what end-take our land for axes, hoes and some other trinkets worthless in comparison to our very rich lands? Or later, is that how our ancestors felt when the colonists encroached on our lands and then used the very law against us to take our lands? To this day, the Piscataway own no land of our own. We were one of two of the first Maryland State Recognized Tribes-yet we own no land and all of our tribal members are taxed on their land-the same lands stolen from our people. We only asked to have the derogatory name of Indian Head Highway changed. 

In July, 2020 Governor Hogan stated “I believe the time is right.” referring to the changing of the name change of the previous name of the Washington Football Team. Further stating, “It’s got a lot of history associated with the name, and in today’s context it probably should be changed.” 

Yes, Governor Hogan-the exact sentiment is attached with the detached heads of Indians! It is not, probably this should be changed, in our case, the Governor’s response should be Hell Yeah, it should be changed and I’m going to honor our First Nations people, who have been wronged on so many levels… This is the least we can do!

We are asking Governor Hogan to honor the Intent of the Law and instruct SHA, MDOT, MNCPPC, and any other Maryland State, County, Jurisdictional Agency/Entity to change the name. WE additionally ask that if there are additional questions of what is the intentions of what is now tens of thousands of people and it is not fully clear as to what all of our intentions were/are/continue to be, to then bring in Maryland’s Attorney General to interpret the Intent of the people (both First Nations people of Maryland, as well as all Marylanders who supported this bill to CHANGE this name).

We plead with Governor Hogan to make the right step forward in honoring the people that protected the ancestors of all of the other Marylanders here today. Honor us-order the Name Change!

UPDATE: The following quoted message comes from Piscataway Chief Jesse James Swann regarding a recent bill signing today April, 19:

“The Governor signed our bill today! Thank you to Piscataway Indian Nation Matriarch, Mrs. Julie Tayac Yates of Piscataway Indian Nation. Thank you Julie for rejoining our two tribes!  Thank you Governor Hogan! We are elated! Thank Delegate Walker and Senator Patterson and all the Delegates and Senators who supported us!!! 

A very big thank you to my tribal community! Our community did a huge last minute push to get this stalled bill through! I couldn’t have done it without all of them!!

This is only the beginning! We have hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in our Cultural Tourism plan through our nonprofit 501c3 organization-Through Piscataway Eyes. 

We have a huge celebration planned for October 1st, 2022.

We are still here! Our ancestors are looking down on us and celebrating!”

UPDATE – As Sine Die moved in, one late session effort to change the name of Indian Head Highway to Piscataway Highway has passed both chambers and is heading to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk for potential signature.

Following the news that the bill had moved off the Senate Floor unanimously, Piscataway Conoy Tribe Chief Jesse James Swann praised the efforts to move the legislation forward.

” We did it! The bill passed both the House and the Senate,” Swann said in a statement. “Now, we need the Governor to sign!” 

We will continue to provide additional updates as they are made available.

UPDATE – 3/22/2022 – The following statement was provided by Piscataway Conoy Tribe Chief Jesse James Swann in an email.

“Our Bill- HB 1433 has reached the Maryland Senate. We have almost six thousand signatures of supporters via the Change.org campaign and our hard copies that date back to 2015 to change the name from Indian Head Highway to Piscataway Highway-in honor of the two Piscataway Maryland State Recognized Tribes-Piscataway Conoy Tribe and Piscataway Indian Nation equally.

We had 130-0 delegates in support of this bill and eleven who did not vote. We are elated with the movement of this bill, but saddened that we have had to do so much to change a name(s) on our own ancestral lands. We hope to have another two thousand signatures by the end of the month. Our community has endured a lot- starting with the forced removal on our own homelands, to not being a Citizen in the very United States where our ancestral lands are located until the 1920s. 

Many of those people didn’t receive full rights until the 1950s-1960s with the Civil Rights movement. We were not recognized as Indians officially until 2012 when we became a Maryland State Recognized tribe along with Piscataway Indian Nation. We are looking to become Federally Recognized as our community voted to seek that in 2017. We understand there is a process-unfortunately we are the only group of people that have to prove who we are.

We are looking for everyone who lives/works/plays on our ancestral lands to take a moment and contemplate on who these lands belonged to and support our people. We thank you all for getting us this far and ask for your continued support to get us to the bill passing.

I have been working closely with our community to address our community’s many needs now and throughout the pandemic.  We have been working on a large group of projects that we believe will bring millions of dollars in cultural tourism dollars to our ancestral homelands in Maryland/DC/parts of Virginia and therefore address many of our community’s needs.

Our Piscataway Conoy Tribal community, Piscataway Indian Nation tribal community, Piscataway Indian Nation Matriarch, Julie Tayac Yates and I have been working very hard to make partnerships with very wealthy stakeholders that are willing to fund these tourism projects. These stakeholders have seen our tenacity to move this tribe forward since the previous Council was voted out in 2016 and the community voted me into office in 2017.

We additionally have applied for approximately $20 million dollars in grants that again will address our community’s needs at the same time as bring those millions of dollars to our area.  I and our community hope that we will have your support to take the first step together to right the many wrongs that have been done to our people.

We hope that you will listen to the masses of our tribal community and then meet with the community, Mrs. Julie Tayac Yates and myself to listen to our cultural marketing plans -that today is not only a billion dollar business, but trillions of dollars worldwide.”

Photo from Town of Indian Head Website.

INDIAN HEAD, Md. -– The Piscataway Conoy Tribe recently launched a petition asking lawmakers to rename Indian Head Highway to “Piscataway or Pascattoway Highway,” while also asking for the town of Indian Head to be renamed to “the Town of Pascattoway.” 

“For centuries the Native American community has been the victim of discrimination from the public, including the naming of a Town and highway,” the tribe said in a statement on change.org.

House Bill 1433, recently introduced and sponsored by three Prince George’s County Delegates and one from Baltimore City, seeks to rename Route 210 to Piscataway Highway. The bill will be heard in the Environment and Transportation Committee in the Maryland General Assembly on March 11 at 1 p.m.

“Our support is growing from County Executives, and Commissioners to calls from those currently running for office down to local librarians. I and my community have been working for seven years to get this done and we truly appreciate your inclusiveness and willingness to work with both the Piscataway Conoy Tribe and the Piscataway Indian Nation on this,” Piscataway Conoy Tribe Chief Jesse James Swann said in an email. “As of today, we have over 5,000 signatures between the online and hard-copy versions of the petition. Although we have no reservation or ancestral lands left in our possession, we believe this is a wonderful step.”  

When the Europeans embarked on the New World at the dawn of the 17th century, the Piscataway tribe was the largest and most powerful tribal nation between the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River. Traditional territory primarily included present-day Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s Counties extended north into Baltimore County and west to the foothills of the Appalachians.

Colonization was brutal for the Piscataway. They were facing aggressive incursions by the Susquehannock from the north, and they lost control of their ancestral lands to settlers. Colonial governments granted the Piscataway reservations called manors, but by 1800, those rights were retracted.

After losing their land, they also lost their identity. The government at the time did not have a census category for Native Americans, so they were counted as and considered “mulatto” or “negro.” Society did not view them as Piscataway or as Native Americans. 

“The time is now! We are asking for all Maryland politicians and the public-at-large to do the right thing and support this change,” the petition says.

Contact our news desk at news@thebaynet.com

Join the Conversation


    1. The name “Indian Head” does not come from indian heads on posts marking the roadway. That’s a stupid rumor that many people believe because they’re to lazy to seek the truth. The highway and the town name come from the shortened version of “Indian Headlands” as the area was know when it was a reservation.

  1. The tribes aren’t the problem, our whimpy, snowflake, democrat government is! It costs a ton of OUR TAX MONEY to make these changes! Let the tribes foot the entire bill if they want it changed! Or, better yet, tell them HELL NO and say: If you don’t like the name, MOVE AWAY!!! This stuff has to STOP NOW!!!

      1. Dumb Dog Jr.- I didn’t say that Maryland had a democrat “governor”.
        Maryland DOES have a majority democrat GOVERNMENT and a mostly democrat governor. Of course, anyone with basic reading skills would see that.

          1. Not when both houses of the legislature are Democratic. Geez, is there anything you understand?

    1. Political extremists have a way of thinking that other people are political extremists. No this is not a crazy Liberal conspiracy, this is Native people who are just trying to be treated with respect.

    1. No that was the name and you were the entitled White person in PG County.

      Now you are outnumbered here— but you are still being treated well here. Thats because Black people remember how it felt and they don’t want to do it Back to you.

  2. “Piscataway Highway” will lead to and dead end at the town of Indian Head. Lol. This may come as a shock but no one cares what race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation you claim to be. Get over yourselves.

  3. #1 Piscataway tribe was the largest and most powerful tribal nation between the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River —
    #2 Although we have no reservation or ancestral lands left in our possession, we believe this is a wonderful step
    So – if they were powerful – how did they lose their land and identity?
    Why was it named Indian Head Highway or the town of Indian head?
    Can we just name a new school or street after the Indian Tribe?

    1. They were not as powerful as the U.S. military. None of the tribes were. Didn’t give us the right to steal their land.

      1. Can they show any proof of land ownership? Or is it just false claims… Could I now claim that my family once owned Hollywood and receive annuities because of my claim? The Indian communities are not native to these lands any more than the Europeans. The Indians committed ungodly things to other Indian groups to take over land, so don’t cry Wolf when the same happened once the Europeans landed…

        1. My ancestor- Col. Ninian Beall (pronounced Bell) was given the land from Georgetown to Scotland, MD and along the Potomac. It wasn’t the King of England’s land to give. Find the Rock of Dumbarton (hint: in Georgetown). We white people don’t have a claim to a single acre in America, we stole the land.

        2. No the state of Maryland has it recorded in the official state history and it also recognizes a couple of Piscataway Tribes.

    2. People should respect this persons opinion. These are important points.

      I look forward to seeing it become Piscataway Highway. As a White guy I don’t need to be paranoid about people who are asking for respect.

  4. I stand with the Piscataway people even when they turned their backs on me. I grew up with them and the Nanticoke and my family contributed to their efforts for State Recognition for nearly 2 decades. The Woke Liberalism of DC has leached into our community and When we, Native American Redskins Fans stood up to fight for our Heritage and History They, the leadership, turned their backs on us. They even attacked me.
    I am not like them. I stand up for what I believe in. I stand for the PEOPLE! This is the right thing for the DMV and PG Country in particular and this is the Right thing for the Piscataway people.
    I will not play the victim though. WE are survivors! Best we act like it.

  5. This generation is just a bunch of crybabies I feel bad for the children because we put all of our attention into stuff that we shouldn’t be changing that’s been there for year’s rather than spending time with loved one’s these day’s

  6. This dumb crap is really out of hand! Someone is butt hurt over a highway name?! It will never stop!

  7. “I understand you’re an idiot” and “Hogan is a republican. Case closed”. You are such a joy. I love coming on here to read your childish and immature taunts. I laugh so hard reading your drivel. You are so incapable of reading English and have such a complete lack of knowledge, yet you call others “idiots”. Priceless!

      1. I don’t understand the extremes today. I’m a republican and like Hogan. Why can’t republicans (or democrats) who work with the other side and see the hood in working in the middle still be labeled with their party. You “extremists” are giving everyone else in your party a bad name. It’s ok to not like it, but your twisted, extreme views do no good for anyone.

  8. Stupid changing the name of everything . Mark my words the same @@@@ will happen in another 50 years .Re writing the Bible ! Re writing history! Re writing Books! The world has gone to He@@ in a hand basket.

  9. Awe the hypocritical and radicalized racist Republicans are mad and showing how racist they are. You will be ok buttercup. 🤣 Just keep on driving on Piscataway highway and don’t hold up traffic. 😆😆😆😆

    1. The Democrats are the racist ones They’re always playing the race card. People better wake up or we won’t have a country

  10. If you don’t like it you can always take a 1 way trip to where your great great great great great great great great grandparents grew up in Europe. 😁😄

    1. Well said! I think its great they are going to call it Piscataway Highway.

      Finally some respect for our Native American neighbors in Maryland. It’s about time.

  11. Being old school, I’ll still call it Indian Head highway just to watch liberal heads explode.

  12. That’s fine I’m glad they are getting recognition ,but is this going to fix the accidents from happening.get on board have better police presence on this road

    1. Yes the traffic enforcement is way down in PG County (and Charles too).

      Now that is something actually worth complaining about.

  13. you can’t remove Maryland my Maryland from Maryland, you can’t remove Maryland from Maryland my Maryland. Similarly, you can’t remove Indian Head from 210? You cause me to be interested in potato soup. This is a very special day.

  14. speaking of roll call votes & being on- the -record: when you go to the US house website, you are asked to fill- out- a- form in order to contact your US House member. If you try to go outside of your district, the form will be rejected. If you write a letter, as a courtesy, the letter will be sent to your local US House member. You have to go to the extent of looking up their candidate e-mail address & writing them. We should be able to congress shop. We should be able to find members of Congress who agree with us & get things done!

  15. your insain are my indian pennys now piscataway pennys better thing to do to help then change a roads name

  16. One can only imagine how much this will cost. By the time MDOT changes the signage, GPS/map updates and all of the businesses along the corridor having to update their advertising, websites & etc., it shouldn’t be much more than several million dollars. All to satisfy a couple people with their panties in a bunch.

    1. No they ate just going to change some dirty, faded and chipped old signs that they need to change anyway.

    2. I appreciate the money being spent on this, versus any one of the trillions of dollars we give to other countries.

    1. Maryland is a moderate Democrat state. It’s not super-Liberal here.

      Watching Tucker Carlson and Ingraham all the time will make you paranoid. Plus Carlson likes Vladimir Putin.

  17. let’s also change the names of pomonkey nanjemoy chicamuxen pomfret Im almost certain with the renaming of Indian head highway and these towns would solve close if not all the worlds problems

  18. Good for the Chief, the highway deserves a better name.

    It’s great they are thinking of honoring the Piscataway people.

    I grew up with some Native American kids over in Upper Marlboro. It’s about time they got some recognition. They have always been here, it’s too bad more people don’t know that.

      1. That’s an old figure of speech. You are nitpicking because you have no good arguments to contribute to the discussion.

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