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Lenape [archive]

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The Lenape call themselves the Lenni Lenape, which means "original people." There are three divisions of the tribe.

Their flag carries many symbols that reflect their culture. The mask in the center of the flag represents Mesingw, the "Masked Spirit", who is the guardian of the creatures of the forest. The forest animals were as important to the Lenape as the buffalo were to the natives of the plains.


European settlers pushed the nation from Delaware through 16 states, including Ontario, to Oklahoma where many of them live today.


They used copper to make pipes and ornaments. These were traded along with pottery, dressed deerskin, beads, and feather mantels. They used their pottery to store corn, beans and tobacco, which they grew along with sweet potatoes and squash.

Dyes from certain vegetables and minerals were used for picture writing to record history and communicate and to paint themselves for ceremonies and battle.

In the beginning, the nation was at ease with the new settlers, but when the settlers began to take what was theirs, the warriors took action. The Lenni Lenape Historical Society and Museum has records of these events.


Delaware Indians
The Flag of the Lenni Lenape or Eastern Delaware
The Lenni Lenape Historical Society and Museum

Additional Reading

 Lenape Tribe
 Lenape Indian Language
 Eastern Woodlands
 Indian Tribes of New Jersey

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