Lenape: Intriguing Facts of New Yorker's Indigenous Tribe

Lenape was indigenous tribes who lived in Lenapehoking. Lenapehoking included Delaware and expanded to Long Island until Hudson Valley in present-day New York. Lenape has a meaning as “Indian or man”. This indigenous tribe also called Delaware because the first time the English met this tribe they were living in Delaware River.

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The Lenape had three brotherhood where each of them had around ten clans. The three brotherhood was Wolf (Took-seat), Turtle (Poke-Koo-un’go), Turkey (Pul-la’-ook). This tribe has matrilineal practices. The difference between patriarchal practices most of us have is the children will belong to mother’s clan.

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The man of the tribe also should marry with a woman outside of his brotherhood, for example, The man from wolf clan could marry only with a woman from turtle or turkey clan ( hmm might be a lot of Indian Romeo and Juliet at that time ). This rule called exogamy and it proved to be effective in preventing inbreeding.

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This tribe interacted to the European such as Dutch, Italian, and swedes through trading. They traded maize (their main harvest), ornamental beads, and fur. When they had a war between clans, along with it they detained young children to be a member of the clan. This practice besides part of their religious belief, I think this is also a strategy to increase the number of warriors they have. The bigger the better, right ?

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In 1682 after a long war between clans, this tribe suffered from disease and famine which reduced their population. In the 18th century, during American Revolutionary War and Independence of the United States, Lenape should move far from their land. They moved to the territory designed specifically for Indians which are present-day Oklahoma and its neighboring territories. They still lived there until now and probably you can meet them in the Pow Wow gathering. It is a National gathering to honor indigenous tribes in America.

Photo by: Instagram @jet.singsinthetimber

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