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Acknowledging the original inhabitants of this area

We are located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, an area that is a small part of what was Lenni-Lenapé territory. The Lenni-Lenape apparently were friendly and accommodating, until the settlers gradually — and often violently — forced them from their territory. We acknowledge the injustice and mistreatment indigenous people faced as a result of colonialism, and we recognize that they practiced many of the same values we hold, including respect and regenerative stewardship of the land and other living things, eating healthy natural foods, social justice and restorative practices, and community-based participatory decision-making.

The largest surviving groups of Lenni-Lenape descendants are the Delaware Nation of Oklahoma & the Delaware Indian Tribe (both based primarily in OK), but there are several other significant groups, including the Ramapaugh Mountain Lenape or Ramapaugh Mountain Indians (northern NJ, near the NY border), the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape (southern NJ & northern DE). There are also several groups that claim connection with both the Lenni-Lenape and other Indigenous nations: the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in the US (northern WI) and 3 in Canada: the Munsee-Delaware Nation, the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown, & Delaware of Six Nations (Canadian reserves).

There are 3 state-recognized groups such as the Lenape Tribe of Delaware, (DE), the Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape Tribal Nation (NJ), & the Unkechaug Indian Nation(NY); in addition, there are a number of organizations that claim descent from Lenape people (in DE, MD, NJ, & VA) that do not have official recognition.

The number of groups, their wide dispersal, and their strong identification with the Lenni-Lenape are pretty clear indicators of the extent to which colonialism disrupted a strong Indigenous civilization in this area, paralleling impacts in other parts of the US and the continent as a whole.

Also see: Colonialism in America

Posted in Community & Culture, Place & Infrastructure, Voices of the Valley, | Tagged , , , , ,

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