October 11, 2020

Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – County Executive Calvin Ball is encouraging residents to celebrate and honor Howard County’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, October 12th. Ball announced last month that Howard County would recognize the holiday in place of Columbus Day moving forward.  
"On our first observance of Indigenous Peoples’ day in Howard County, we hope it opens up discussions on the importance of acknowledging our history throughout our government and our community," said County Executive Calvin Ball. "Indigenous and Native American history is embedded in our nomenclature and our geography – Patuxent, Potomac, Kittamaqundi - and there is a clear opportunity for our residents of all ages to learn more about the people who lived on this land before us. I encourage our residents to use this day to reflect and learn more about the native lands that we live on, there is a deep history of erasing these stories and part of our goal is to amplify and share the stories of Native people.”  
“Indigenous Peoples’ Day brings awareness to the First People of this nation that often are invisible to many,” said Kevin Allis, CEO for the National Congress of the American Indian. “It's a day that celebrates the beauty of the American Indian, and is a reminder to all that tribal nations, and their traditions and customs, still exist.”

"Indigenous Peoples’ Day is about acknowledging the First People, the Treaty People, of the land we now call home,” said Ani Begay, Navajo Nation representative. “It is a first step in honestly addressing the legacies and costs of our prosperity, both imparted unevenly to this day. We do not get to choose our past, but we get to choose our values: How we live up to and celebrate them. This moment in history is our opportunity to choose, with the clarity of historical perspective as to the true measure of those long celebrated as heroes, to celebrate legacies that represent our values. Today, Howard County’s choice is local. Today we choose Civility and Indigeneity."

In Howard County, there is a long tradition of honoring Native Americans and those who lived on these lands before us. The Howard County Historical Society noted that based on archeology, evidence of Native American settlement in the Howard County region suggests that the earliest settlers were here 12,000 years ago.  Algonquin speaking peoples used these lands that we call home as hunting grounds prior to European colonization in the 1600's.
The county is surrounded by remnants of that Algonquin past by our natural landmarks; the Patapsco River derives from the Algonquin meaning "Backriver" while the Patuxent River was named by famed explorer John Smith after the Patuxent people who lived along its banks. Lake Kittamaqundi (loosely translated into "A Friendly Meeting Place") in Columbia was named by The Rouse Company in 1966 to honor the Algonquin Piscataway peoples who lived along the Southern border of the County into Prince George's County and further points south. 
The Quaker Ellicott family, known for their ingenuity and enterprise were also strong advocates of education and often invited Native Americans from tribes across the United States to come to Ellicott Mills and engage, interact and learn in one of their Quaker Schools. Members of the Chickasaw, Crow, Miami, Beaver, Delawares, Shawanese, and Potowatomie Tribes were known to have visited Ellicott Mills from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. With the increased settlement in the region, Native Americans in Howard County were left with similar choices that thousands of other tribes would be forced to make - assimilate into an American way of life or be displaced from their ancestral lands.  

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