Chesapeake Tribes Today

Dancers at a powwow wearing regalia.
Dancers don regalia to perform at a powwow.



Who are the Chesapeake's Indigenous peoples?


A look at each region

It is a common misconception that Native Americans no longer live in the Chesapeake Bay region. There are tens of thousands of people in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia who identify as Indigenous. As European colonies expanded their influence further and further into Native land, many Indigenous families in the Chesapeake were indeed forced to flee to other parts of the country. Other families were able to stay in the area, often facing danger and discrimination as they lived alongside colonial society. In addition, several groups of people Native to other parts of the country moved into the Chesapeake region, fleeing persectuion in their homelands. Today, this results in a great diversity of Indigenous backgrounds represented in the region. In the sections below, we take a closer look at each section of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and some of the major communities represented. This list is not exhaustive, as the Chesapeake Bay is home to many diverse communities each with unique stories to tell. 


How did we get here?

In the articles below, we explore the long history that brought us to the present day. What happened to the Tribes in the Chesapeake Bay after John Smith's voyages? How did colonization impact Tribes in the Chesapeake, and how did these Tribes adapt as the European colonies became the United States of America?

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    Interviews with Indigenous Artisans

    Drawing on both traditional techniques and modern inspiration, artists throughout the Chesapeake Bay region are keeping Indigenous creative traditions alive. In the interviews below, several of these artists share their artwork with us and offer perspectives on their craft.

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      Last updated: March 20, 2024

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