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HISTORY OF THE CHOPTICON INDIANS AND CHOPTICON HIGH SCHOOL
In 1608, Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay and was the first to record seeing Native American villages. The Chopticon Indians had villages near the Wicomico and Port Tobacco streams and Choptico Bay. The Chopticon tribe was not a large group, estimated at 2,000 in 1600.
The Chopticon tribe enjoyed friendly relations with the English. They were the object of the first Catholic mission established by Father Andrew White. Father White recorded feelings of mutual respect and admiration between the Chopticons and the English. Within the Chopticon tribe, obedience and valor were stressed as a way to gain blessings and earn other men’s esteem.
In regards to attire, it has been recorded that the Chopticon Indians were woodland Indians who dressed in deerskins and wore beads around their necks. Bracelets and earrings were common adornments of both men and women.
The Chopticon tribe joined the English and Piscataway Confederation in a border war with the Susquehannocks, who were more warlike than the Piscataways. Even though the Piscataways were successful, future raids against the Chopticons by the Susquehannocks and Iroqouis led to the Chopticon tribe moving north along the Potomac River in the mid 1600’s.
In 1651 the English established Choptico Resolving, near the head of the Wicomico River, in an effort to protect the Piscataways and other tribes from raids by the Susquehannocks. In 1688, the manor was renamed Choptico Hundred; however, only a few members of the Chopticon tribe chose to remain there. By 1765, it was estimated that only 150 members of the Chopticon tribe existed. During the late 1700’s, the Chopticon tribe continued to decrease in number. The remaining members continued moving west along the Potomac River and assimilated into the Mohican and Delaware tribes.
This tribe of Indians spoke the Algonquian language or at least a dialect of it. This language had no written form so it remains for such men as William Strachey, John White, Edwin Dalrymple, Andrew White, and others to record what little exists of how the language sounded. Due to the practice by the English to spell names of tribes phonetically, there were variations of the name Chopticon which included Choptico or Chaptico.
Whether the Indian in question is Chopticon, Choptico, or Chaptico, is of small value at this time; what is important is that he be remembered.
Naming of Chopticon High School
During the school desegregation movement of the mid 1960’s, the naming of Chopticon High School was seen as a unifying factor within the community. Just as the Chopticons assimilated peacefully into other tribes, the goal of Chopticon High School was to provide a safe environment where all students could be educated without fear. Since 1965, Chopticon High School has promoted participation, respect, individual accountability, decision-making, and excellence. These qualities define Chopticon High School today and reflect the school motto PRIDE INSIDE.
Usage of the Name and Emblem
During the 2001-2002 school year, Chopticon High School implemented the Native American Name and Emblem Usage Committee to investigate whether Chopticon should keep its name and emblem or modify it. Chopticon High School took the initiative and created a committee that was composed of faculty, students, parents, and members of the community. After a detailed study and public comment session, the committee determined that Chopticon High School should not change its name or emblem. The use of Chopticon and the emblem of the Brave has been a unifying factor in the community and will continue to represent the tradition of "Pride Inside" for future generations.