Story and Photo by Drew Moody|
The Tayac Territorial Singers and Dancers performed
last week at Glenville State College's Fine Arts Center.
The performances are a celebration of the culture
of Native American people, the group's founder, Mark
Drumming, singing an dance have an ancient tradition in
all Indian cultures -- used in celebration, communication
and religious ceremonies.
"The drum represents the heartbeat of life, and our elders
have always told us as long as we keep the drumbeat alive
our culture will survive," Tayac said.
"Our culture is still alive. It didn't die in a John Wayne movie."
The past several decades have seen a resurgence of Native
American cultures throughout the worlds, particularly following
the civil rights movement in America.
"We all breathe the same air, drink the same water and live
on the same Mother Earth," he said. One of their goals is
to "create bridges of understanding" with all people.
The Tayac Territorial Singers and Dancers have performed
throughout Mexico, the U.S., Canada and Europe.
PISCATAWAY TRIBE'S LONG HISTORY
The Piscataway people have a documented history in the
Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland dating back at least
15,000 years, according to Mark Tayac.
The principal city of their ancestral homeland was located
directly across the Potomac River from George Washington's
home, Mount Vernon.
In January, Maryland governor Martin O'Malley signed an
executive order officially recognizing the Piscataway Indian Tribes --
the first to receive such a designation by the state.
During the ceremony Governor O'Malley read from a Jesuit
priest's journal recounting an early 1700s visit with the
"They are," he wrote, "a people of a frank and cheerful
disposition,…who offer us what they have taken in hunting
or fishing,… In sum, they have generous natures, and
(return) any kindness shown (to) them."
In spite of this, the Governor acknowledged that spirit was
not reciprocated by European settlers.
"Sadly we know from the tragic aspects of our history, this
generous spirit, this deep instinctive sense of human
brotherhood was most often betrayed by the cruelty and
the misery brought by a stranger's hand," Governor O'Malley
The Piscataway Indian Nation has yet to receive federal
recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs according to
a Capital News Service story published recently.