Archive for January 10th, 2012

The state of Maryland granted its first formal recognition of a tribe there this week.

As Michael Dresser of The Baltimore Sun reports, members of the Piscataway-Conoy Tribe celebrated after the executive order recognizing the tribe was read.

    For Mervin Savoy, recognition was sweet — even if it came more than two centuries too late.

    Savoy was one of hundreds of Piscataways who gathered beneath the State House dome in Annapolis Monday as Gov. Martin O’Malley issued executive orders formally recognizing the Native American tribe as a distinct people. It is the first time Maryland has given formal recognition to a tribe.

The recognition will mean a lot of things for the tribal members, that go beyond the symbolic distinction of official status.

    The designation also could make it easier for Piscataway-owned businesses to qualify as minority business enterprises — a status that could help them win state and local government contracts, the governor’s office said.

    One benefit recognition will not confer on the Piscataways is the right to open casinos — a lucrative revenue source for Native American tribes in other states. O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said that as part of the agreement that led to formal recognition, the Piscataways have renounced any plan to get into the gambling business. The executive orders specify that they do not grant any “special privileges” related to gambling.

Jenna Cederberg