“Common Man, True Man,
Originally lived along Delaware
River to southern New York state.
Lenape are believed
to be the oldest and first Algonquian speakers so
they were often called the “Grandfathers.” The
Lenape were a sect of the Delaware people. It’s possible
the pictographs that record the history of the Lenape
go back at least 14,000 years.
Delaware is not a Native
American name. It comes from the Governor of Virginia,
Lord Thomas West. His royal
title was Lord de la Warr which became Delaware.
with European people began in 1524 with Giovanni
da Verrazano. There was much trading of furs which
in the Beaver Wars.
1633 small pox struck the Delaware
and half of the population was lost.
concept of ownership of land was a foreign concept
to Native people, especially the Delaware.
and Muskingum River valleys were the main area
of early settlement within the boundaries of
- Delaware people were forced north
and west. Delaware, Chillicothe and Cary, Ohio, are
Delaware Indians were farmers and hunters.
They lived in fairly permanent villages in the summer
and separated from their families to hunt in the winter.
In early years, they used three types of wigwams: round
with a domed roof, oblong with an arched roof, or oblong
with a center pole.
In later years, they built log cabins.
Religious ceremonies revolved
around the “Big House” or
Matrilineal society: the clan is determined by the mother.
The eldest women could appoint and dismiss the chief
The men wore breechcloth, leggings and moccasins. They
removed their facial hair and plucked their heads to
leave the traditional round scalp lock
Before the Europeans came, ornaments were made of copper,
shells and porcupine quills. They also used cloaks made
Women wore a two-hide dress; one was a wraparound skirt
help up by a belt, and the other was a fringed poncho.
Leggings and moccasins finished off the outfit. Leather
clothing was worn before the European trade.
- Tattooing was common for both men and women.
1682 the king of England granted a Charter to Pennsylvania.
William Penn did not believe this grant overrode the
Native Land rights. He signed a treaty with Chief Tammamend.
After Penn’s death in 1718 things changed. By 1732 all
that remained of the original Lanape land was a small
part of New Jersey and a valley near Allentown, Pennsylvania.
In 1737, Pennsylvania officials "discovered" an
old treaty that said they had rights to all the
land between the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers.
The Delaware were now homeless and had to move themselves
to the upper Susquehanna and Wyoming River Valleys.
In 1740 the Moravian missionaries began to convert
the Delaware in Pennsylvania. The Delaware were leaving
Pennsylvania to come to Ohio. The Six Nations ordered
them back to the reservation. The Delaware people ignored
After much harassment, the Delaware fought back. Pennsylvania
authorities signed the Treaty of Easton which paid for
lands taken without compensation and established a reservation.
The Fort Pitt blankets and handkerchiefs of smallpox
victims were given to the Natives and an epidemic broke
out. The Delaware and Shawnee were forced to sign a treaty
The last Pennsylvania Delaware left for Ohio in 1764.
In 1770 the Delaware moved with the Miami to the White
River in Indiana.
Delaware tried to be neutral in the many wars, but was
forced into defending their territory.
In 1778, the Delaware signed the first treaty with the
United States Continental Congress.
By 1782, the Moravian Delaware at Gnadenhutten were
placed under arrest. Instead of bringing them back to
Fort Pitt, the Pennsylvania militia voted to kill them.
Twenty-nine men, 27 women and 34 children were beaten
to death with wooden mallets.
In 1795 the Delaware moved to the northwest of Ohio,
into Indiana and finally to Missouri.
After the Treaty of Greenville, the Delaware had no
land and became refugees. Many moved to the White River
- In 1829, the Delaware ceded their reserve and in 1832
joined the Delaware west of the Missouri River.
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