By Rachel Baye
Of the 23 states that give their employees the day after Thanksgiving off, Maryland is the only one where the day honors the United States' indigenous population.
There are 20,420 American Indians in Maryland, making up about 0.4 percent of the population, according to data from the 2010 census. Eight tribes are indigenous to Maryland, including the Accohannock, Pocomoke, Nause-Waiwash, Assateague, Shawnee, Piscataway Indian Nation, Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Subtribes and Cedarville Band of Piscataway, according to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's office.
The day after Thanksgiving has been a holiday for state employees in Maryland since the start of fiscal 1999. That is when the state legislature eliminated Defenders Day--which celebrates the defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812--Good Friday, Lincoln's Birthday and Maryland Day--which commemorates the arrival of settlers in St. Mary's County on March 25, 1634--as holidays for employees and added the day after Thanksgiving, or the fourth Friday in November.
The day was designated American Indian Heritage Day by a state law passed in 2008.
History of Native American Heritage Day
Below: Howard County powwow.