Pocomoke River State Park demonstrational event
Partly sponsored by the Community Foundation on Sat. Sept. 19th, 2015
Shad Landing State Park, on the Historic Pocomoke River.

Sam Doughty welcomes guest to the Pocomoke River Nature Center at Shad Landing. The Pocomoke Indian Nation has a permanent dugout canoe exhibit in front of the Nature Center. The reproduction water craft is being burned out under an outside shelter. The exhibit is open to the public during regular park hours. (see video on this page)

To the left is a fire pit used to produce coals for the burning process in the canoe shed. This area is also used to demonstrate how native people cooked and dried different foods. In the background a hide is being dried. Food was cooked slowly near the fire and not directly over the coals. Clay pots made from local clay were used to heat water and make stews. Fish were dried on the rake or on stakes near the open fire pit.  
Many different displays and demonstrations were presented on Saturday including shell work, basket weaving, flint knapping, canoe burning, cooking, and herb collecting. Daniel "Fire Hawk' Abbott from the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance was present to show his many skills and tell the history of the native people of the area.

Watch our calendar for upcoming events.   

Chicone Village Day April 19, 2015 at Handsell in Indian Town, Dorchester, County, Maryland

Chicone Village Day at Handsell, Indiantown

The Pocomoke Indian Nation demonstrated the art of cooking over an open fire pit. Baskets, shells, ceramics and bead work were displayed. Projectile points were made with aboriginal tools. The theme for the day was the contact period, a time when Europeans first came in contact with the Nanticoke People that lived on the River that bears their name. Early settlers learned from the indigenous people of Delmarva. Drummers to the right entertained the crowd  with traditional drums. 

Native American Artifact Exhibit Saturday, March 7th, 2015
East  New Market, Maryland
Sponsored by the Dorchester County Historical Society

Sam Doughty and Phil Goldsborough demonstrating the art of knapping. Several points were made of stone and glass in this session.  The Pocomoke Indian Nation is committed to demonstrate, to the public the skills and culture of the native people of Maryland. 

Projectile point made of glass by the  pressure flaking method. Sea glass and old bottle bottoms are great for making points. 

Pressure flaking with copper tools.

Pressure flaking with aboriginal tools, such as deer antler and quartzite hammer stones. 

Sam and Phil demonstrating pressure flaking with the Ishi stick. A long handle with a copper point giving greater pressure from the upper body and breaking the flakes with the knees. 

Sam has just completed a point made of white novaculite and shows it to the next generation of knappers. The tribe has made many reproductions from local quarts, quartzite, jasper and  flint. Novaculite is from Arkansas and not found locally.   

Cheryl and Barbara

This was the 8th annual Indian Artifact Exhibit and was well attended by the public and the Pocomoke Indian Nation. Over fifty tables of artifacts were displayed, including arrowheads, stone tools, beadwork, fossils, shark teeth, and other Native American items. It was a great day to learn about our native ancestors, with many demonstrations and displays of things from the past.
For more information on the above event follow this link to the Dorchester Banner

Pocomoke River State Park
History Weekend
September 12th - 14th  2014
Shad Landing, Worcester Co. Maryland

The Pocomoke Indian Nation Inc. has started a new project at Shad Landing. A large Tulip Poplar tree that was struck by lightning at Milburn Landing State Park had to be removed. A log section of this 90 year old tree was transported across the Pocomoke River and placed in a newly constructed shelter and will become a permanent exhibit at the Shad Landing Nature Center. The Pocomoke Tribe will burn the log on occasion and eventually end up with a finished canoe. The organization already has a finished vessel that is on loan at the Nature Center. You are welcome to visit the finished canoe in the Nature Center and see the progress on the new vessel outside the center under the pavilion.

May 17, 2014 Nanticoke Heritage Day

Odette Wright at the Nanticoke Heritage Museum, Millsboro, Delaware. Tribal historian and Chief Norris Howard of the Pocomoke.

April 27, 2014 Handsell

Chief Norris Howard of the Pocomoke Indian Nation prepares a variety of food over an open fire pit. Fish and sweet potatoes are cooked on the rack above the fire, while breads are backed on a large flat rock slap overhanging  a bed of coals. The Pocomoke and Nanticoke people roasted oysters and other bivalves in the coals of a campfire. Clams, mussels and oysters were abundant throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. The famous Maryland Blue crab was trapped in the bay and rivers by the native people and also steamed in their own shell over hot coals near the edge of the fire.
   Drying fish

On Sunday April 21, 2013 the Pocomoke Indian Nation put on several demonstrations for the public at  Mother  Earth Day at Handsell Chicone Indiantown in Dorchester County, Maryland. The tribe demonstrated the construction of a log canoe and flint knapping of stone and glass. Both demonstrations where enjoyed by the many visitors to the village.
The dug-out canoe is an ongoing project started several years ago. A fire is started in charcoal and allowed to burn down into the log until the wood is charred. After cooling the charred material is removed with oyster shells or sharp scrapers made of stone. Mud is placed in areas that are not intended to burn. Other members demonstrated knapping of stone and glass. Knapping is a term used to describe making of stone tools, which was vital to the survival of the Native Americans.
Burning the Canoe

On Saturday Oct 5, 2013 the Pocomoke Indian Nation demonstrated  friction fire starting as they continued working on their dug-out canoe at the Nanticoke River Jamboree. The event was well attended in Indiantown, near Vienna Maryland. The Pocomoke Indian  canoe has been on display at the Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury State University. The tribe explained the process of burning the interior wood and scraping the charred materials from inside the hull with scrapers and oyster shells. Pottery, fans, beads and other Native American articles were on display. Flint knapping with glass and stone was also demonstrated at the booth.

Click on the right corner of video to enlarge. Please return after viewing video.

Dugout canoe

Native people made dug-outs up to 50 feet in length from cedar cypress trees found along the banks of the Pocomoke and Nanticoke Rivers.  In the center of the canoes a fire hearth was made of wet clay to protect the wood from a small fire used to cook and keep warm. This hearth could also be used to keep a coal for starting a camp fire at night. These vessels were able to navigate the Chesapeake Bay and its many rivers. Maryland Archive records indicate the Pocomokes crossed the Bay to St. Marys during the colonial period. Native Americans had rights under Maryland Colonial law.

Making a coal with friction using a fire board and spindle. White cedar is used for the fire board and horse tail is used for the spindle. Cedar bark and other light materials are used for tinder. The apparatus is placed on a piece of bark to keep dampness out and to transfer the new born coal to the tinder.  

Fire Starting
Chief Norris Howard
Chief Howard and Family at Chicone, Indiantown, Dorchester Co., Md.

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