For thousands of years, along rivers and streams in what is now known as the Delaware Valley, villages made up of oval and rectangular bark wigwams could be found. Children were seen running, squealing in delight, and playing games with one another. The women of the village, in knee length skirts, were seen tending to the farm, cooking and caring for the children. The men, donning their breechcloths and leggings, hunted, fished and traded to provide for their families. These communities were known as the Lenni Lenape Indians, translated as “the true people.”
The Lenape Indians aka Delaware Indians lived in relatively permanent villages along the waterways in the Delaware Valley. They would travel in dug out canoes for trading furs or gathering supplies to aid farms. At first, white settlers and the Indians were able to cohabitate peacefully. From the Swedish, to the Dutch and eventually to English Quakers led by William Penn, peaceful coexistence was a common element among the Indians and the White man. They traded ideas, goods, and lived in the Delaware Valley as a community of different cultures.
Lenape Indian Chief Tamanend once said, “We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers run, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.” However, after Penn’s death, his son, Thomas who was driven by greed, tricked the Lenni Lenape Indians out of 1,200 square miles of land.
After this fateful mistake, the Indians, driven out by the White Man, were forced to migrate from the Delaware Valley all the way to Oklahoma. Wars, epidemics, and the migration itself, greatly reduced the great, strong, and noble Lenape population.
Delaware Tribe : www.DelawareTribe.org
Delaware Nation : www.DelawareNation.com