Indigenous History & Culture

A native american in a traditional headdress
Please contact the Piscataway Tribal Council to request authorization prior to using or reproducing this image. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

This section of the Potomac River forms part of the traditional homeland and cultural landscape of the Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Sub-Tribes and the Piscataway Indian Nation of Maryland, as well as the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia.

The Piscataway have identified Mallows Bay and Liverpool Point (Charles County, Maryland) as areas of significance within their cultural landscape. It is very likely that Nussamek, one of the villages visited by Captain John Smith during the summer of 1608, is in this area. However, no archaeological sites have yet been identified in a submerged context.

The Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia is based in Stafford County, Virginia, and includes approximately 1,500 members. Their history dates to the 13th century. During the period of early English colonization, Captain John Smith visited their village on lands between Aquia Creek and Potomac Creek and Pocahontas (Matoaka) was married to a Patawomeck warrior.