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Back in the Day in West Vincent …. The Lenape

- Barb Quinter, Historic Resources Committee Member, September 2023

The Lenape are earlier inhabitants of the Lenapehoking area which surrounds the Delaware River and its tributaries, places we now call eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and southern New York. Native American peoples have lived within this region for over 10,000 years. The Lenape are linguistically related to the Algonquin peoples of the northeast, and their ancestors are thought to have moved into the region hundreds of years ago or more.

Known as the “Keepers of the Land,” the Lenape tended to live in small hamlets and scattered farmsteads, perhaps relocating seasonally to make use of the rich variety of natural resources. The Lenape were sustained by the land and were experts at maintaining a natural balance within their overall universe. They continue to be resilient people overcoming life’s obstacles while adapting to environmental and social changes endured through time.

Following the arrival of the European settlers in the early 1600s, over a period of 250 years, many Lenape people were removed and dispersed throughout the United States. Some took refuge with other tribes of Turtle Island (North America). Others stayed and assimilated into communities and families within their Lenapehoking homelands where today they continue the traditions of their ancestors.

Lenape Village - This scene in the picture shows people arriving at Lenape village by dugout canoe perhaps to do some trading along with ongoing daily activities. In the background can be seen their bark-houses. Usually made of a framework of cut young trees with the bases buried in the ground and with the tops bent over and tied together. The frames were then covered with sheets of bark, usually elm or chestnut.

--Illustration courtesy of Herbert C. and John T. Kraft (Official Site of the Delaware Tribe of Indians » Lenape Life).

Through education and conservation, the Lenape advocate for a harmonious interaction between people and the natural environment.

Lenape heritage is rooted in our beautifully preserved West Vincent environment.

The Lenape are still here. They never went away.

To learn more about the Lenape read: WV Opalanie Park History of the Lenape.

This is the second installment in a series created by the Historic Resources Commitee, "Back in the Day in West Vincent".

The Historic Resources Committee welcomes volunteers to help research the Township’s history. No experience necessary! Just fun. Please contact us at to be connected with a member of the Historic Resources Committee and visit our home page for more historical information and maps.

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