Eastern Delaware Nations, Inc.


  In 1610 Captain Samuel Argyll entered the body of water now 

known as the Delaware Bay, and named it in honor of his superior 

officer, Sir Thomas West III Lord De la Warr, the Provincial Governor of Virginia.

 The tribes of Indians who lived on its shores and in its valleys were also 

given his name. This was not one tribe of Indians but several tribes reduced 

to bearing one name.

         Early settlers happily coexisted with the indigenous populations near 

their settlements. However, much of the recorded history of this period 

reflects explorer/settler experiences and their cultural bias.

         To the Indians, their settler neighbors were a bit strange but friendly. 

As more settlers came the Indians began to rely more heavily on technologies

 they brought with them. Traps, guns, gunpowder, tobacco and ammunition became the 

base for a settler-controlled trade economy, which first augmented, and later virtually 

replaced the Indians' hunting and agricultural based economy. As even more settlers arrived 

there soon wasn't enough land for Indians to live on.

         By the time the Delaware Bay was named, social patterns were significantly disrupted 

within and between Indian tribes, and tensions escalted between Indians and settlers.

       The eastern woodlands Indians never 'owned' any land. The concept of owning land was 

alien to them The land, in their view, belonged to Creator. At first bargaining between Indians 

and settlers was fair, with Indians sharing land use. But the colonial government pushed for 

ever more for expanding settlements.  The government told settlers they could legally occupy 

abandoned lands in Pennsylvania. Villages vacated for fishing or hunting camps were viewed 

as abandoned. When Indian people returned to their villages to find their lands occupied by 

settlers, conflict arose.

         The trickery and deceit of the1737 Walking Purchase gave the Delaware people the true 

perspective of their relationship with the government. The Delaware thought they knew how 

much land they were agreeing to give up. Because their culture was a mobile one, walking 

was the Indian way of measurement. They knew how far a man could walk in a day and a 

half. They didn't know whites had greedily cleared paths and hired runners to get the most

of the deal. The original agreement with the Penn brothers (Williams Penn's sons) was for 

"as far as a man could walk in a day and half. " The Delaware complained that the hired 

men did not "walk fair." Outraged, they refused to leave the land. In 1741, British officials 

called on the Iroquois to force the Delaware to relinquish land in the Delaware and Lehigh 

River Valleys.

         The Delaware people signed the first treaty with the United States Government in of 

1778. One small band of Delaware left the group in the late 1700s and after great travels 

settled in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Other contingents of Delaware fled to Canada during a 

time of extreme persecution where today they occupy two reserves in Ontario 

(The Delaware Nation at Moraviantown and The Munsee-Delaware Nation).

         In the late 16th and early 17th century, economic and political deceit led to escalating 
violent clashes between Indians and settlers. The people known as the Delaware were driven
ever westward by settler encroachment and governmental control. They first moved along the 
North branch of the Susquehanna River 
in Pennsylvania. Later they were pushed farther west, establishing a vast town near present 
day Kitanning PA. Later they fled into Ohio, then to Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, and finally, 
Indian Territory, in what is now Oklahoma. 
With each move they were convinced they would be safe. Some chose to neither fight or 
leave, instead blending into the dominent society, taking on Irish, English, Dutch and 
Scottish surnames. They wanted to be able to own land and enable their children to attend 
local public schools without fear. Until 1978 it was illegal for Native Americans to practice
their religions.

         The descendants of the Delaware who moved westward under governmental pressure 

now live in Okalahoma numbering nearly 12,000. One small band of the Delaware who left 

the group in the late 1700s are today located in Anadarko, Oklahoma.

         Other Delaware fled to Canada during a time of extreme persecution. Today EDN 

people are taking steps to learn the Delaware language through interaction with the 

The Munsee-Delaware Nation in Canada.

Eastern Delaware Nations is not recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or the 

federal government as a tribe. Although the government official stand is that 'no Indians 

stayed in Pennsylvania,' our ancestors did stay and we are still here! Regional place names 

echo our ancestor's presence in the Endless Mountains: Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wyalusing, 

Towanda, Mehoopany, Tunkhannock, Muncy, Sheshequin, Laquin. Eastern Delaware Nations 

was incorporated in 1984 and achieved 501c3 status in 1993.

         Steeped in American Indian history, Wyalusing Rocks was purchased by EDN in 1999, 

after three years of fundraising, public donations and support. Roughly translated, Wyalusing 

means "Where the old man sits." Some say medicine people prayed there, while others say 

people kept watch for invaders from these high cliffs overlooking the Susquehanna River.

The Present       Through the efforts of groups like EDN, awareness about Native American

history and culture is being raised across the state. In eastern Pennsylvania, Bradford, 

Sullivan and Lycoming counties joined Pennsylvania in proclaiming August 'Native American

Awareness Month' in 2001. Schools, daycare facilities, scout groups, and other organizations 

request EDN presentations. Museums request exhibits of 'story poles' created through the

Totem Rhythms project, and our mural titled 'Elan Kumankw' (We Are All Related).

The Future         EDN is strengthening cultural awareness, knowledge of historical 

contributions, and today's American Indian culture throughout the Endless Mountains and