Maryland - After years of hard work and dedication, the Accohannock Tribe has been granted Indian status by Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan.
The small tribe is the third in the state of Maryland to receive this recognition.
Tribe officials told 47ABC many of their members are still in shock.
David Palakanis, the Accohannock Tribe's Secretary said, "I think there's a lot of people that are in somewhat of disbelief that this actually has happened, that there's an executive order that you know, that we were in the Governor's office and this thing really concluded and it's awesome, it's really good."
Mike Hinman, the Council Chairman of the Accohannock Tribe, said he delivered the following as part of his speech to the Hogan administration: "It was important for the Accohannock Indians of Maryland not to become a lost and forgotten people. To prove to people and history who we are as descendants and living representatives of indigenous Eastern Shore Indians of Maryland."
As for what being granted an Indian status means for the tribe? Palakanis said, "It means a lot of resources and a lot of grants and health care benefits and things like that that these people were long due."
Tribe members said they believe having a Maryland Indian status will help future generations.
Hinman said, "Always add the seven generations into it. What it's going to mean to them or what it's going to hurt them or whatever, but that's tradition."
Palakanis added, "We hope that the tribe benefits from this for long after we're here, you know? That is the goal. It is not for the here and now, it's for the, for all those generations that will follow."
Accohannock Tribe members said they are glad all their hard work has finally paid off.
Palakanis said, "I think that it really comes down to is, don't give up, keep trying, keep persevering, work hard and think good things could happen."
The Accohannock Tribe's next mission is to open up a new cultural center in Crisfield.
The center will be located where the old Union Asbury methodist church used to be on Freedom Town road.
We will update you with an exact opening date.
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