Brief Historical Analysis
The Lenape, or Lenni Lenape, also known to the European settlers as the Delaware Indians, were tribes of
Algonquian linguistic stock, inhabiting
longhouses in small villages in the region known as Lenapehoking, a region now known as Northern Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, along with some parts of New York state, Staten Island, and Long Island. They relied heavily on agriculture as a means of
subsistence, growing crops of corn, squash, and
Although Lenape society was based on a ruling Chief and a council of elders, Lenape society was matriarchal, meaning women owned the land and homes, and also shared some degree of influence on tribal politics; if a warrior or hunter died while away, there was always some form of provisory government, and protection for the tribal structure and its assets, as the women could run things as well as the men did. The
words Lenni Lenape mean: "true men", or "common people", but they were also a peaceful, generous, spiritual, and just people who accepted the European settlers with open arms.
But as History has taught us, settlers did not always respect the ways of the Native peoples, and conflict was never too far behind, as cultures from two completely different worlds clashed. The
Lenape were forced out of their homes by the colonists, and a 200 year war
ensued, driving many of the tribes to relocate westward, to Oklahoma to join tribes such as the
Choctaw, Cheyenne, Seminole, and Iowa Indians.
For years, alliances with the Western tribes were made, broken, and the Lenape always seemed to be on the losing end. Most of
today's Lenape tribes are located in Western Oklahoma, and Kansas.
Many Lenape believe it is
important to reclaim their cultural heritage, and are working
hard to ensure that the traditions, and beliefs of this proud
people are not lost in 200 hundred years of dust, blood and