“The First People of the First State” - Lenape Tribe of Delaware Celebrations

The Lenape have been present in Delaware for more than 12,000 years.

The Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware is holding its sixth annual “The First People of the First State” Lenape Heritage Month celebrations in 2018 which include a total of twelve Lenape cultural events scheduled at three Dover museum locations throughout September. The State of Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (DHCA) and the Dover Public Library have partnered with the tribe as sponsors.

The Lenape have been present in Delaware for more than 12,000 years.

“Despite the struggles and hardships that they have experienced in recent centuries, the Lenape people continue to persevere, prosper and preserve their cultural heritage—and to generously share it with their fellow Delawareans,” Nena Todd, DHCA’s site supervisor for its downtown Dover museums, explained in a press release.

The highlight of the 2018 “First People of the First State” series was the “Lenape Celebration of Heritage” event on Saturday, September 1st. Tribal members celebrated their culture with dancing, demonstrations and a Grand Entry. This event kicked off Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control monthly “First Saturday in the First State” events scheduled for that day in all First State Heritage Park sites.

Lenape Tribe of Delaware “The First People of the First State” Grand Entry. Photo courtesy Lenape Tribe of Delaware.

Visitors were welcome to participate in the Lenape Tribe of Delaware “The First People of the First State” Round Dance. Photo courtesy Lenape Tribe of Delaware.

Lenape Tribe of Delaware “The First People of the First State” Drummers. Photo courtesy Lenape Tribe of Delaware.

“September is a time for Native-American people to gather in their homelands,” Todd told Gloucester City News. “Traditionally, the coming of cooler weather provided a signal for native peoples to transition from a summer of hunting and fishing to more secure winter lodgings.”

“The First People of the First State: A Lenape Celebration of Heritage” event was an extension of that tradition.

September is the time for celebrating the “The First People of the First State”, the Lenape Tribe of Delaware. Photo courtesy Lenape Tribe of Delaware.

All remaining events in the series are open to the public and admission is free. For additional information, call 302-744-5054.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

“Deciphering American Indian DNA”

The Old State House

1:00 pm

This program explores the implications of DNA testing from a Native American perspective. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, DE 19901. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. (302) 744-5054

Friday, September 21, 2018

“Native American Arts”

The Dover Public Library

6:00 pm

Join the Lenape Indian tribe of Delaware at the Dover Public Library as they demonstrate drumming, dancing and share the art of bead working. The Dover Public Library, Loockerman Street, Dover, DE 19901. Free admission.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

“American Indian Women Today”

The Old State House

1:00 pm

American Indian Women speak about traditional roles and how those roles have become pertinent in today’s #METOO society. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, DE 19901. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. (302) 744-5054

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

“Delaware’s Most Important Site: Bloomsbury and the Survival of the Lenape People”

The Dover Public Library

6:00 pm

Join Archeologist and Ethnographer Dr. Cara Blume as she examines the significance of the Bloomsbury site. This American Indian site gave proof of identity and the continued existence of the Lenape’ People in Delaware. The Dover Public Library, Loockerman Street, Dover, DE 19901. Free admission.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

“Growing Up Lenape in Delaware: Lenape Women Speak”

The Old State House

1:00 pm

Tribal citizens speak about their experiences with American Indian identity before and after desegregation.

The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, DE 19901. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

The 2018 “First People of the First State” event series is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Follow ICT Correspondent Lisa J. Ellwood on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IconicImagery

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