Md. legislature approves name change for Indian Head Highway

Both the House and the Senate in Maryland’s state legislature agreed to change the name of Indian Head Highway to Piscataway Highway on Monday night.

The bill now awaits Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature before it can take effect. WTOP has reached out to Hogan’s office for comment on whether the governor intends to sign the bill.

Also known as Maryland Route 210, changing the name of the roughly 20-mile road that spans Charles and Prince George’s counties became the focus of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, which said the name is derogatory to Native Americans.

Jesse James Swann, chief of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, wrote a letter to politicians and legislators in both Maryland counties last month requesting that Indian Head Highway be dropped in favor of either Piscataway Highway or Pascattoway Highway, so it could honor one of state’s two Native American tribes.

Chief Jesse James Swann (right) stands with a sign support the name change of Indian Head Highway to Piscataway Highway. (Courtesy Jesse James Swanson)

“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. “We are the original inhabitants of this land — we were very accepting and very giving to those who formed what is now present day Maryland.”

WTOP’s Anna Gawel contributed to this report.

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Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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