Nanticoke Indian Association celebrating 100 years in 2022

Organization does the ‘business’ of the tribe; purple dead nettles are taking over
March 25, 2022

Story Location:
Nanticoke Indian Museum
26673 John J Williams Highway
Millsboro, DE 19966
United States

The Nanticoke Indian Tribe has been in and around this area of the Delmarva Peninsula for thousands of years. For the past 100 years, the Nanticoke Indian Association has been making sure the tribe’s history isn’t forgotten, while also making sure the tribe’s future is secure.

The NIA was chartered as a nonprofit in February 1922. There are currently more than 660 association members, said Chief Natosha Carmine.

“A person is born into the tribe, but the association is a dues-paying organization that does the business for the tribe,” said Carmine. “Business” includes running the museum, payment of bills, maintenance requirements, organizing annual events and generally checking in on tribe members. “We’re preserving the tribe’s history, but we’re also making history.”

Due in large part to the work of the associations board of directors, there has been an extraordinary amount of investment in the tribe’s future recently – 30 acres of ancestral land abutting the tribal center off Route 24 to the east was donated last year and more than $1.3 million was secured in the state’s Bond Bill this year to help renovate and update the tribal center.

Carmine said she and the board members are very grateful for the resources, but also said those resources will be used conservatively. It’s impossible to make everyone happy, but the board does what it thinks is best and keeps moving forward, she said.

As of now, there is no specific celebration planned to mark the NIA’s 100 years, but Carmine said it could happen at any one of the tribe’s annual events. 

In addition to recognizing the NIA’s 100-year-anniversary, it’s worth recognizing that March is Women’s History Month and that Carmine has just begun her seventh year as the tribe’s first woman chief.

Carmine said she takes pride in her historic place within the tribe, but even more so when it comes to talking about the influence it’s had on her daughter’s three daughters. She said all three know much more about the tribe than she did growing up and that the oldest one has written scholarship essays on the subject.

“I’m Grandma Chief to them,” said Carmine, laughing, then adding, “That was the best part of this interview. Thanks for asking.”

Purple dead nettles have exploded recently

In my last column, I acknowledged how, after a long winter, early March’s warm weather felt good. Apparently, I wasn’t the only creature who noticed the warm weather because in the past couple of weeks the early spring flowers have blown up around the Cape Region. None more noticeable than the local farm fields covered in purple dead nettles. 

Every year around this time, there are large swaths of soon-to-be-plowed fields covered by this two-inch-tall, pink and purple member of the mint family. Maybe I haven’t lived around here long enough, but the purple dead nettles this spring seem to be especially vibrant. For example, there are two large fields on the southern side of Route 9, between Dairy Farm Road and Nassau Commons Boulevard. Both of them are covered pretty much from end to end in purple dead nettles. The photo accompanying this column was taken in the field closest to Dairy Farm Road. I could have taken it at any number of spots along that stretch of road, but that corner has the employee parking for the ice cream stand across the street and I figured it was safer to park there than on Route 9, with my car’s blinkers on during weekday morning commute time.

Joke of the week:

As always, there’s an open solicitation of contributions to this portion of my column. If you send one and I don’t respond, I’m not ghosting anyone. I do try to respond to everyone, but sometimes I just forget. Feel free to call me out on it though. That’s why this week’s joke is being brought to you by Rob, who contributed his current favorite dad joke:

My wife asked me to stop singing “Wonderwall” to her.

I said, “Maybe.”


  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

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