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Kumankw Mural |
Research & Interpretation Project
the time the Delaware Bay was named, social patterns were significantly disrupted
within and between Indian tribes, and tensions escalted between Indians and
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.
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,
|| HISTORY 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
his name. This was not one tribe of Indians but several tribes reduced
to bearing one name.
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
As even more settlers arrived there soon wasn't enough land for Indians
to live on.
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
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).
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
1978 it was illegal for Native Americans to practice their religions.
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, Sheshequin, Laquin.
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,
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.
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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.
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Through the efforts
of groups like EDN, awareness about American Indian 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).
EDN is strengthening
cultural awareness, knowledge of historical contributions, and today's American
Indian culture throughout the Endless Mountains and beyond. The planned Cultural
Center and living history areas will attract recreational, heritage and history
visitors, and scholars to the Endless Mountains Region.
The Cultural Center
will be completed within a few years, offering visitors to the Endless Mountains
Region a chance to understand history from the American Indian standpoint.
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2005 - 2012 Eastern Delaware Nations