Members of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe are calling on officials in Maryland to rename Indian Head Highway and the town of Indian Head because they say the names are derogatory to Native Americans.
Chief Jesse James Swann requested the change Monday in a letter to officials in Prince George’s and Charles counties, saying the tribe wants the name changed to honor Maryland’s two state-recognized tribes, WTOP-FM reported.
“This is our ancestral land and this highway was a major thoroughfare used by Piscataway and the surrounding tribes that were under our empire,” Swann wrote. The tribe has gathered more than 3,700 signatures on a Change.org petition and said it expects more.
This is not the only effort to rename Maryland Route 210, which runs about 20 miles south from Forest Heights near the border with Washington, D.C. Last year, state senators introduced legislation to rename the highway for former President Barack Obama.
Swann said he appreciates the bill to honor Obama, but the highway shouldn’t be renamed in his honor.
“This is our homeland and we believe he would agree with us,” Swann said.