The Lenape Tribe

October 3, 2010

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While visiting The Museum of  the American Indian I concentrated on finding out about the Lenape tribe and getting to know their culture.

 In 1524, Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to discover the Lenape. In 1609, Henry Hudson claimed much of their land. The Lenape lived in the area called  Lenapehoking, around the Delaware and lower Hudson River.

The Lenape believed in one God, making it easier for them to grasp the concept of Christianity when the Europeans came. They respected the earth they lived on and thrived off of, and had various ceremonies centred on the growth and harvest of their crops.  Corn and Deer were the main constituents of their daily meals.

Labour was divided equally between Men and Women. Men were in charge of crafting tools, building housing, hunting and fishing and helping with raising the children. The Women were in charge of preparing and decorating animal skins, cooking, and raising the children.

Families were relatively small, with an average of  2-3 children. Because resources were low and time was of the essence, the females drank a special tea every morning which lowered hormonal chemicals in the body, making them less fertile. The children were a loud to enjoy their childhood by playing and learning and were not forced to work at a young age.

In 1609, Henry Hudson claimed much of the Lenapes land in the name of Holland. In 1626 the Lenape sold Manahatta to Peter Minuit, director of the Dutchsettlement, for sixty guilders ( $24 ).

The Lenape population dropped rapidly because of various infectious diseases brought in by the Europeans, for example; smallpox, measles and diphtheria. Starting in the 1620’s the Dutch were able to settle west of the Hudson, meaning the Lenape were forced to sell their land and move to areas in Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Ontario.

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