The story of the Indigenous peoples of Philadelphia begins in the long-ago time with the emergence of Turtle and the earth that formed on its back. From this first earth, the first tree grew and so too did the first sprouts. Adapted from the first written emergence story of the Lenapeas told by Lenape elder Tantaque, courtesy of Curtis Zunigha.
Prior to the first waves of colonization, the major Pennsylvania Indian tribes were the Lenape, Susquehannock, Shawnee, and Iroquois. Those original people of what would become the city of Philadelphia were the Lenape.
Indigenous peoples of philadelphia
They were hunters, fisher people, and cultivated the area around Philadelphia along the banks of what are now called the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. The area was green and filled with rolling hills, verdant trees, wetlands, and a bursting ecological system.
InDutch and Swedish colonizers, bought a tract of land from the Lenape near Wilmington Delaware, beginning a long history of transactions between the Lenape and the colonial powers. The first European to settle in the Philadelphia area was a man named William Warner who arrived in The land was dedicated for persecuted Quakers but was already the homeland of the Lenape people.
Penn, driven by the Quaker tenets of goodwill and friendship, was quick to establish treaty relations with the Lenape through the Shackamaxon agreement, that bought out their lands but allowed them to retain certain villages and locations, that could not be sold. This all worked fine until the death of William Penn in the early s. But it was no purchase, rather it was a devious plot to trick the Lenape into selling off almost a million acres of traditional land.
A ificant historical incident happened in that brought a of issues between the Quakers, the colonists and the Indigenous People to a tragic and bloody confluence. In early December, a mob of frontiersmen rode from east-central Pennsylvania to just outside of Lancaster where they carried out a vile and merciless attack on the Conestoga people.
Although they were condemned by the Quaker government, they felt justified to continue their slaughter of the remaining Conestoga ing only fourteenwho had been confined in Lancaster for their protection, shortly after Christmas Day In response, Quaker and city leaders in Philadelphia, removed the Moravian Lenape, a group of Christian Lenape people living outside Philadelphia, to inside the city itself.
As the mob of frontiersmen continued to grow and march on Philadelphia, Quaker people took up arms to defend their Lenape wards and ostensibly, themselves.
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This is one of the few documented instances where Quakers chose to take arms to engage in combat, specifically on behalf of the Lenape people. As with many eastern Nations, the subsequent centuries were not kind to the Native people of the Philadelphia area.
Dispossessed of their lands and decimated by disease, the majority of Lenape migrated west with only a handful remaining in the area. However, many Native peoples continued trading in the city well into the s.
As with most metropolitan areas, the Indigenous Peoples did not disappear but rather continued to work and live and establish new lives based on traditional culture. As of the Census, 13, residents of the city identified as Native American.
Today, Lenape descendants, along with those of Cherokee, Navajo, Cree, Seminole, and Creek tribes, as well as many others, call Philadelphia home.
Ina statue of Lenape Leader, Tamanend, was erected in the city. Located near the entrance of I south commemorates the Native legacy in Philadelphia and the Treaty.
The Tamanend is standing atop a turtle and is flanked by an eagle, the Lenape symbols of earth and sky and a tribute to the enduring legacy of the Lenape People. Founded inNative Realities has published the largest assortment of Indigenous-centric comic books in the world.
Through Native Realities, Dr. Francis is also an accomplished writer with numerous publications in print, ranging from poetry to academic to fiction. His comic book, Sixkiller, was recently optioned for television and his latest publication, Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga, will be released in December The above information may be used by libraries, librarians, and other educators for nonprofit training and educational purposes.
If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to our office at diversity ala. Conestoga Massacre and the Arming of Philadelphia A ificant historical incident happened in that brought a of issues between the Quakers, the colonists and the Indigenous People to a tragic and bloody confluence. Modern Philadelphia As with most metropolitan areas, the Indigenous Peoples did not disappear but rather continued to work and live and establish new lives based on traditional culture.