At first European contact in the early 17th century, the tribe lived along the Delaware River, named for Lord de la Warr, territory in lower present-day New York state and eastern New Jersey, and western Long Island, New York.
The Lenni Lenapes didn’t live in tepees. They lived in villages of round houses called wigwams. Some Lenape Indians preferred Iroquoian-style longhouses to wigwams, because more family members could live in a longhouse. Here are some pictures of wigwams and longhouses.
Their land, called Lenapehoking, included all of what is now New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York State, northern Delaware and a small section of southeastern Connecticut. Today, Lenape communities live all across North America.
It’s the tribe that was named Delaware Indians by white settlers. The Lenape lived in the woodlands of east central Indiana from the 1790s into the early 1820s; during that time, they founded villages or trading posts that evolved into towns, including Anderson, Muncie and Strawtown.
The Delaware were often called the “Grandfathers” because they were respected by other tribes as peacemakers and often served to settle disputes between rivaling tribes. They were also known for being fierce and tenacious warriors when they had to fight, however, they preferred to be peaceful.
Go to the Talking Dictionary! Lenape is an eastern Algonquian language originally spoken in eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York, all of New Jersey, and northern Delaware. This brief introductory section provides some examples of the Lenape language.
Why did the Lenape people accept the name “ Delaware ”? It has long been known that the name applied to the Native people who lived along the Delaware River was taken from the title of an Englishman, Lord de la Warr, whose name was Sir Thomas West.
Like Zunigha, most Lenape today don’t live in New York City or the surrounding area. There are only two federally recognized Delaware tribes in the U.S., and both of them are in Oklahoma, where large groups of the Lenape ended up due to forced migration.
The Delaware Indians were originally known as the Lenape or Lenni Lenape Indians, the name they called themselves. The American colonists named them the Delaware Indians.
Today, Lenape people belong to the Delaware Nation and Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma; the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin; and the Munsee-Delaware Nation, Moravian of the Thames First Nation, and Delaware of Six Nations in Ontario.
Click the Lenape word to hear it pronounced. Common Words and Phrases.
|Hè||Hello! (or) Hi!|
|Làpìch knewël||I will see you again. (Goodbye)|
|tëmike||Come in! (or) Go in!|
Most Lenape Indians were driven out of their homeland by the British. Here is a partial map of the forced travels of the Lenape Indians. The Americans eventually relocated them to Oklahoma, where the modern Delaware Indian tribes are located today. Other Lenape people joined the Nanticoke or Munsee Delawares.
The Lenape had three clans: the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Turkey. These clans were matrilineal, the children traced their clan through their mother.
What does ” Delaware ” mean? The name ” Delaware ” originates from the Delaware River and Bay, which were named in honor of Sir Thomas West (Lord De La Warr), the first governor of the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia in 1610.
The Lenape were a deeply religious people and their belief in a Creator and eleven lessor Gods reached all aspects of their lives. They believed that all things had souls. This reflected a deep reverence for their natural environment and a concept that they were only a small part of Nature’s grand scheme.