Saturday, October 21, 2023

Sen. Mastriano To Introduce Bill To Establish A Process To Formally Recognize The Lenape Nation In Pennsylvania

On October 20,
Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Adams) began circulating a co-sponsor memo announcing he plans to introduce legislation to establish a process for the formal recognition of the Lenape Nation by the Commonwealth.

“The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania has worked as stewards and caretakers of the Delaware River and have engaged in partnerships with over 130 organizations who work together to protect the Delaware watershed. 

“The Nation also maintains a Cultural and Learning Center in Easton, Pennsylvania. 

“Pennsylvania state recognition will allow the Lenape to provide more outreach and education at schools and universities, permit them to sell traditional arts and crafts labeled “American Indian-made”, and overall bring more attention to the Lenape descendants remaining in Pennsylvania.

“Lenape nations in New Jersey and Delaware are already officially recognized by their respective state governments.

“The rich history of Pennsylvania cannot be told without acknowledging the contributions and legacy of the Lenape.

“The Lenape people are the original inhabitants of eastern Pennsylvania. Modern day areas such as Lackawanna, Manayunk, Conshohocken, and Neshaminy are just some of the names of places derived from the Lenape Language.

“This October will mark the 341st anniversary of The Treaty of Shackamaxon, also known as William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians.  

“Under an elm tree in Shackamaxon (modern day Philadelphia), William Penn and Lenape Chief Tamanend agreed to a peace that would last for over 70 years. 

“Famous French philosopher Voltaire stated that this was “the only treaty between the Indians and the Christians that was not ratified by an oath and was never infringed.”  

“While many Lenape were forced to migrate west in the 1700s after the death of William Penn, some descendants remained behind in Pennsylvania and retained the culture and tradition passed down from Lenape elders here in our Commonwealth.”

Click Here for a copy of the co-sponsor memo.

[Note: The last legislative effort to establish a “process” for recognition was in 2002 with the introduction of House Bill 713.  The bill was opposed by the Lenape Nation at that time because the difficulty of the process did not account for the history of the Lenape Nation in Pennsylvania.  Read more here.]

Lenape Nation Seeks Recognition

The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania has been seeking recognition by the Commonwealth for over 30 years as the remaining indigenous people of Pennsylvania.

“For over 10,000 years the area now known as Pennsylvania has been the homelands of the Lenape tribe. 

“The early recorded history of Pennsylvania is deeply rooted in the relationship between the Lenape and the Europeans who settled here. 

“There has been a rich exchange in culture, as well as early and continuing conflicts between those ways of life. As with all triumphs and tragedies, it continues to require thoughtful reflection. 

“The Lenape people have survived displacement and upheaval. The very fact that we are still here is significant.

“Today, the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania is active in the revival of tradition and community. 

“For decades the Lenape have been teaching in Pennsylvania public and private school systems, and we continue to offer a unique and insightful view on the culture and history of Pennsylvania to all age groups and audiences. 

“The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania encourages partnerships among people and organizations in the Commonwealth in order to foster cultural, historical and environmental education and preservation, and in many cases, a "re-education." 

“Today the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania enjoys a formal partnership with over 130 organizations, including academic institutions, environmental organizations, faith-based communities, historic societies, and many others, who are committed supporters of our Nation.

“We are in a time of renewal, and a time of great change. Our ancestors left many teachings for us to learn by and to share with others. Those teachings often focus on respect and commonality among all living things. 

“It is often said that we cannot know our future if we do not know our history. The history and continued presence of our people is a long and winding story that has faced much erasure, and needs to be re-told often and authentically.”

This year, the Lenape Nation started a petition drive and a letter writing campaign and held a rally in Harrisburg in May to raise the visibility of the effort to achieve recognition.

Visit the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania website and the The Lenape Nation Of Pennsylvania on Facebook for more information on these initiatives.

Resource Links:

-- The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe

-- Explore PA History: The Indians Of Pennsylvania

-- PHMC: The Cornplanter Grant: The Last Native American Settlement In Pennsylvania

-- The Allegheny Front: The Complicated History Of The Kinzua Dam And How It Changed Life For The Seneca People

-- BBC/WBFO: The Kinzua Dam And The Broken Treat With The Seneca Nation

-- How Pennsylvania Erased The Lenape From Local History

Related Articles:

-- Feature: Lenape Nation Travelers Journey Hundreds Of Miles Seeking PA Recognition, To Renew A Years-Old Treaty With Lenape Sipu (Delaware River) Communities  [PaEN]

-- Stroud Water Research Center: Profiles In Stewardship - Unalachtigo - People Next To The Big Water  [PaEN]

-- Stroud Water Research Center Celebrates The Life Of Chief Quiet Thunder  [PaEN]

-- Lenape Nation Completes 2018 Rising Nation River Journey Down The Lenape Sipu (Delaware River)  [PaEN]

-- Feature: The Lenape Nation - A Tradition of Caretaking - People And The Environment  [PaEN]

[Posted: October 21, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner