The Lenape, whose name means “the real people,” are indigenous to the Delaware Valley.
From parts of New York and eastern Pennsylvania to New Jersey and the coast of Delaware, the Lenape lived in this region for thousands of years. Those relatively newer place names are products of the same colonization that violently uprooted the native people from the area once known as Lenapehoking.
“It is a history of deprivations, of swindles, of murders, of dishonorable behavior by the Dutch, by the British, and later by the Americans,” says Curtis Zunigha, an enrolled member and cultural director of the Delaware Tribe of Indians. “We have been away from our homeland since that time, and yet we have persevered and managed to reorganize and reassemble ourselves.”
“We lived off of the bounty of the forest, the bounty of the rivers, and the bounty of the oceans. And it was a holistic lifestyle, in the sense that all things had a living spirit. And we were given a way of life, to live and balance in harmony with those spirits,” Zunigha said.
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