The Geography of the Lenape Diaspora

Author: Peter Morse

School/Organization:

Overbrook High School

Year: 2014

Seminar: Native American Voices: The People – Here and Now

Grade Level: 12

Keywords: Delaware, diaspora, Lenape

School Subject(s): Social Studies

Designed for high school students, this social studies curriculum unit explores American history through the voices and contributions of aboriginal Native American peoples who have so often been marginalized.  This study emphasizes geography and explores the location of the Lenni-Lenape people upon European arrival and where they are today.   The two-week unit makes use of a variety of primary sources.  The goal is to illustrate the vast contributions made by the Lenape people prior to and after the European arrival and subsequent diaspora. Original maps make up the main source of primary documents, and these maps are used to explore the following questions:  How did the region of the Lenni-Lenape change over time? Who created the maps?  And what was the audience they were created for? Who benefitted by the creation of a certain map? What was its influence? Students will have an opportunity to reflect on aboriginal Lenape influence on each map. Why was society organized here rather than there, and how did the use and organization of the land differ between aboriginal peoples and the newly arriving Europeans? The maps will provide the prism though which we will hope to illuminate and create curiosity around the brothers and sisters who originally lived in the Delaware Valley.  This unit also addresses a second query regarding current Lenape influences through the introduction of both live and recorded Lenape presenters.  The unit encourages students to ask questions directly, and to write a letter that celebrates the influence of the Delaware Valley’s original settlers.  By exposure to living indigenous peoples, our students will gain in understanding of, and respect for, the Lenape people in particular, and Native Americans more broadly.

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Full Unit Text
Rationale

Tina Pierce Fragoso is the Associate Director of Recruitment at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has literally and figuratively poured her heart into the genesis of the healing that must occur if our community ever hopes to fulfill its destiny of a free and open democratic nation. She is Nanticoke (Coastal) Lenni-Lenape woman. Her profound respect and undying commitment to her grandfather’s sage advice to pursue education led her from the New Jersey shore to the Redwood Forest to the City of Brotherly Love. She is organic proof that we can and will heal. (Fragoso, pp. 40-41) Fragoso has been a leading voice in the recruitment of and support of indigenous students to the Ivy League school built on Lenape land. She speaks proudly of the progress that has been made at both her school and in our region with regard to the profound indigenous heritage that existed and exists here in the Greater Philadelphia Area. She also fully endorses the role educators have in uncovering and shedding light on her people. She is a living and breathing mandate that indigenous history must be part of the canon of United States History and Geography.

 

Daniel Snyder is the owner of a professional football team in Washington, D.C. known as the Redskins. There has been a steady and increasingly fervent drumbeat for Snyder to discontinue the use of the name. As recently as March 26, 2014, Philadelphia Daily News columnist, John Smallwood   questioned the use of the term “Redskins”. Football may be a game but it is also a $9 Billion dollar a year business. There are thirty-two owners of NFL franchises in the United States. The Euro-American men who own these teams are a select group of multi-millionaires who generally get their way. Snyder has consistently resisted pressure from both indigenous and non-indigenous organizations to change the name and mascot of the team. As Smallwood’s column points out Snyder has taken his disdain for those who believe the term “Redskins” to be a racial slur a step further by not only refusing to change the name of the team but by creating a foundation that purposely includes the offending term in its name. With the hubris of a modern day slave owner- player rights can be purchased, traded or released at a moment’s notice- Snyder has decided to name his foundation the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.” Snyder stated that he created the foundation to assist surviving members of tribes decimated by European disease, aggression and ethics. He states on his website that he or members of his staff spent four months visiting twenty-six tribal reservations in twenty states. Smallwood points out in his column that Snyder has invoked a quote by Mary Resvaloso who states that: “There are Native Americans everywhere that 100% support the name.” Ms. Resvaloso is the chairwoman of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. When I read that a Billionaire has found one person who is indigenous to defend the term “Redskins”, I am reminded of the legal definition of harassment.  It is my understanding that regardless of the intent of the person who directs a comment, sexual or otherwise, if the person who the comment is directed toward is offended it is considered to be harassment. The point being that there are thousands of both indigenous and non-indigenous people who find “Redskins” to be offensive. Perhaps if a young Dan Snyder was taught in his formative years about the pain inflicted on the original inhabitants of this country he might be able to grasp the offensive and hostile nature of the name of his football franchise. (Smallwood, p. 57)

 

Neshaminy High School is a place of learning that exists just north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school has been involved in a controversy during the 2013-2014 school year. The student led editorial board of the school’s newspaper made the decision to no longer invoke the school’s nickname, the “Redskins”, within the content of the paper. The name “Neshaminy” is derived from the Lenni-Lenape language. Its literal translation is “place where we drink twice.” The Neshaminy Creek is a particularly powerful tributary of the Delaware River. Students at the school understand that the name of their town and School District is a direct link to the powerful past of the original inhabitants of this area. They have articulated clearly their desire to not disrespect these aboriginal people. The situation gained national attention when the school principal told the students the paper has the right and obligation to continue to refer to students at the school as “Redskins”. The situation is now being argued in court. As a teacher I am continuously reminded how often children demonstrate a greater capacity to evolve than the adults who are in charge.

 

Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage (REACH) is the name of a three-day workshop that stresses the importance of diversity. My teaching career began in the West Chester Area School District in 1993. At that time the Jewish community was asserting that the holiday programs in West Chester were excluding non-Christian points of view. The result of the controversy that ensued was the adoption and implementation of ideas set forth in the REACH workshop. The program was created by educational leaders in Seattle, Washington in the early 1990’s. Both Asian American and Native American members of that community felt as if their views were not being heard. As a result of my training I became involved as a workshop leader. The workshop was a series of activities and discussions of the importance of diversity that revolved around the importance of diversity. Each discussion was framed by a guest speaker who represented a personal and unique perspective centered on the life experiences as a member of one of the “Federal Five” ethnic groups. The five guest speakers were: European American, Latin American, Native American, African American and Asian American. In one of the training sessions I had a personal experience I will never forget. One of the teachers in the REACH workshop was a former High School classmate of mine. She was a Spanish teacher. Our Native American speaker was a Lenni-Lenape whose name was Glen Wolf. I had Glen give his talk on three or four occasions and was always so impressed how so patiently he would answer questions related to holocaust of his people and the theft of their land. One of the questions directed at Glen Wolf was from my former classmate and colleague, the Spanish teacher. Prior to Glen’s arrival and talk to our group the class had become involved a fairly intense discussion about the use of the term “Indians”. At the end of Glen Wolf’s talk, the Spanish teacher asked him if had was offended by “white people” using the term “Indian.” Glen’s response was short and sweet. He stated that he could not speak for other aboriginal people but that the term “Indian” did not offend him. The Spanish teacher turned to the group that had protested the use of term, wagged her finger and stated, “If this Indian does not have a problem with the term than you people are the ones that are ignorant for not understanding that the term is acceptable within the community.” I was blown away probably even more so as a big piece of the World Language curriculum is centered around cultural sensitivity. I spoke to Glen as I was helping him get his stuff to his car and asked him what the rationale for his answer to her question was. He explained to me that his people had endured the hatred and ignorance associated with the arrival of European Americans for over five hundred years. Any educated person that might see he or his people as “Indian” were only demonstrating their own continued ignorance. I promised myself that if I ever got a chance to fashion a curriculum around shedding light on the history of the original people who occupied the Delaware Valley: the Lenni-Lenape people, I would. This class has provided that opportunity.

Objectives

The unit is created to engage 12th grade students in an elective course entitled Geography.

The Objectives of the unit will include the following:

  • master a set of ten relevant terms
  • identify the path taken by Lenape who were forced from their land
  • create accurate descriptions of significant people related to the Lenape experience
  • design a timeline that illustrates European influence on Native Americans
  • utilize the use of cardinal directions in creating a Lenape inspired garden
  • write a letter of apology to the Indigenous people

Strategies

Students are naturally curious about the history of the land upon which they currently reside. It is my experience that urban students consistently demonstrate a greater capacity to empathize with those that have been disenfranchised. They have lived their lives being marginalized by the powers that be. It is for this reason that I believe a sound Unit Curriculum on the Native American experience will be particularly relevant to students at the school that I currently teach. The goal is that through a series map activities buttressed by key terms, significant people and relevant historical accounts our students can compose a letter to the Lenape that demonstrates acknowledgement of their accomplishments and existence.

Classroom Activities

DAY ONE

 

Objective: Students will reflect upon the Lenape creation story and write about their own theory on how humans came into existence.

 

Instructional Strategies:

Do Now: How did humans come into existence?

 

(The question above will be written on the Front Board or displayed on the SmartBoard screen. The students are expected to bring a notebook to class every day. The notebook functions as a daily journal. Students respond to a topical “Do Now” question each day. The notebook is checked three times in a nine-week marking period for valid and consistent entries. Students are granted ten minutes to respond to the day’s query. Three student responses are elicited daily. The three students who volunteer their response each day are granted two extra credit points on the Unit test. The students selected to offer their responses will be rotated in attempt to elicit as many children as possible gaining the confidence to offer their thoughts.  The intent is that by creating a consistent class opening our students gain the responsibility to bring a dedicated Geography notebook, articulate their thoughts to an open ended prompt in writing on a daily basis and participate in lively discussion)

 

Direct Instruction:

The class will be asked to offer what they know about either Muslim or Christian creation theories. The teacher will display the idiosyncrasies as offered by the class on the SmartBoard. A three column graphic organizer will list three to five characteristics of both the Islamic and Christian faith. The teacher will then distribute and read a simple description of the Lenape creation tradition.

 

Guided Practice:

Students will be asked to use the written Lenape creation description to create a third column that creates connections between the dominant religions of the students served in our community here in West Philadelphia: Islam and Christianity.

 

Check for Understanding:

Students will be asked to articulate the significance of the turtle in the Lenape tradition.

 

Closure:

Students will be asked to put into their own words their personal theory as to how humans came into being. They will be asked to do so in the three paragraph format that we use as the basis for most writing assignments we assign, including the essay that is the conclusion of each test for each two to three week unit we complete.

 

Homework:

Complete three-paragraph essay: What is your personal theory as to how humans came into existence?

 

DAY TWO

 

Objective: Students will gain a deeper understanding of the three distinct cultural groups that developed among the Lenape in the Delaware Valley region.

 

Instructional Strategies:

Do Now: Do Native Americans live among us today?

 

Direct Instruction:

Students will be encouraged to give examples of evidence as to the existence of Native Americans today. After some discussion the class we will be asked to vote either in the affirmative or the negative as to the existence of modern Nanticoke-Lenni-Lenape.

 

Guided Practice:

Students will be given a copy of the essay, “Recruiting Native American Students to Penn” written by Tina Pierce Fragoso. She is the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Fragoso is also an enrolled member of the Nanticoke-Lenni- Lenape tribe. The article speaks to the clear fact that the Lenape traditions and cultures that existed here upon the arrival of the Europeans are alive today. Students will view “Dance with Me: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape of NJ” on the Promethian Board. The video will introduce them to Chief Gould.

 

Check for Understanding:

Students will be asked to answer ten independent questions related to the article.

 

Closure:

The class we will be asked to vote a second time either in the affirmative or the negative as to the existence of modern Nanticoke-Lenni-Lenape. (Hopefully all will acquiesce to the affirmative)

 

Homework:

Students will be given a three-question survey to complete with a guardian or an adult in or near their homes. The survey will ask the questions:

Do Native Americans live here in the Philadelphia area?

Have you ever known a Native American person?

What do you know about Native Americans?

 


 

DAY THREE

 

Objective:

Students will be asked to identify several locations on a map of the Mid-Atlantic region related to the various settlements of the Nanticoke-Lenni-Lenape people.

 

Do Now:

If you could live in the City of Philadelphia, in the Pocono Mountains or at the New Jersey shore where would you choose to live and why would you live there?

 

Direct Instruction:

A blank map of the Mid-Atlantic region will be projected at the front of the room. Students will be advised that Native Americans that lived here developed cultural characteristics specific to the environment within which they lived. It will be pointed out on the map that the Munsee lived in the Pocono region, the Unami lived in the Greater Philadelphia region and the Unalachtigo lived in the coastal regions of New Jersey and Delaware.

 

Guided Practice:

Students will be given a blank map of the Mid-Atlantic Region. They will be given a copy of The Nystrom Desk Atlas. They will be asked to identify the following: the Delaware River, the Lehigh River, the Susquehanna River, the Delaware Water Gap, the Atlantic Ocean, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Bethlehem, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Dover, Trenton, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and the Pocono Mountains.

 

Check for Understanding:

Students will hand in completed maps with all locations identified.

 

Closure:

The Mid Atlantic Map will be projected once again. Students will be asked: Where did the Munsee live? Where did the Unami live? Where did the Unalachtigo live?

 

Homework:

Students will be asked to use find one modern place in the Mid Atlantic region  that uses a name rooted on Native American language.

 

DAY FOUR

 

Objective:

Students will gain understanding of significant scaffolding vocabulary related to the Native American Experience.

 

Do Now:

Students will be asked to define the term “original”.

Direct Instruction:

 

Students will be asked if to think about a time in their life when they started the school year at a new school. They will be asked to discuss in small groups the best manner in which people are oriented to a new school. The significance of “institutional” knowledge  and language will be discussed.

 

Guided Practice:

A list of significant terms and their definitions will be demonstrated on the front board. Students will be asked to enter these terms into their Social Studies notebook. They will be asked to create an original sentence for each of the terms provided. They will be reminded that all ten terms will appear on our test on the two-week unit.

 

Check For Understanding:

 

Each group will be asked to define two terms each for the class. The terms will be: assimilate, indigenous, potlatch, powwow, projectile points, regalia, reservation, sovereign, treaty, tribe.

 

Closure:

Students will hand in their sentences and asked to secure their definitions for review prior to our Unit Test.

 

DAY FIVE

 

Objective:

Students will gain an understanding of the forced migration of the Lenape from the Delaware Valley to western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Midwestern United States, Oklahoma and Canada.

 

Do Now:

Where are the Appalachian Mountains?

 

Direct Instruction:

Students will be reminded of the significance of the city of Pittsburgh and the Appalachian Mountains as Western Pennsylvania gateways to Ohio and Canada. The 1758 “Treaty of Easton” will be discussed.

 

Guided Practice:

United States maps will be distributed to the class. Students will be given a copy of our Nystrom Desk Atlas. Students will be asked to identify the following locations:  New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas.

 

 

 

Check For Understanding:

Students will be asked to look at a map that demonstrates the physical features of the states mentioned above. They will be asked to list three specific impediments that made the migration from the Delaware Valley West and north so difficult.

 

Closure:

Students will hand in completed maps. Students will be given a second map to complete for review for the Unit Test.

 

Homework:

Students will be given a second map to complete for review for the Unit Test.

 

DAY SIX

 

Objective:

Students will review the significance of cardinal directions in relation to a traditional Lenape garden.

 

Do Now:

Do you know the cardinal direction of the four walls of our classroom?

 

Direct Instruction:

We will discuss the significance of orienting oneself based on our collective understanding of North, South, East and West. Students will be polled as to whether they have ever worked in a garden. The types of plants and vegetation will be discussed. The influence of rain and the sun will be discussed.

 

Guided Practice:

Students will be given a sheet of paper that has an outline of the shape of turtle. Students will be asked the significance of the turtle among the Lenape people. Students will be given a list of traditional Lenape trees, shrubs and medicinal herbs.

 

Check For Understanding:

Students will be asked to explain the uses of trees, shrubs and herbs.

 

Closure:

Students will be asked to plot out the manner in which they might create a garden if they were to create their own turtle.

 

Homework:

Students will complete plotting the gardens.

 

 

DAY SEVEN

 

Objective:

Students will trace the migration of the Unami and Munsee speaking Lenape people from the Delaware Valley through to Ontario, Canada and Oklahoma in the Central United States.

 

Do Now:

Do you know anyone who was ever evicted from their home?

 

Direct Instruction:

The teacher and the students will engage in a discussion of property rights. We will also delve into the emotions related to having a place to call home and being told to leave one’s home permanently.

 

Guided Practice:

Students will be asked to first identify key locations related to the Lenape diaspora. They will then be asked to use colored pencils to illustrate the divergent paths taken by the the Unami and the Munsee speaking Lenape.

 

Check For Understanding:

Each group will be asked to choose a color to trace the distinct migration path.

 

Closure:

Each group will be asked to articulate one stop for each Lenape group prior to mass arrival in Canada and Oklahoma. They will be asked to state why it was not viable for the Lenape to settle at earlier stops in their migration.

 

Homework:

Students will be asked to read an article provided related to the mass migration of southern African-Americans from the South to Northern urban Centers in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

 

DAY EIGHT

 

Objective:

Students will write a letter of apology to the Lenape people.

 

Do Now:

Why is it important to say: “I am sorry”?

 


 

Direct Instruction:

Students will be reminded that the ancestors of the Lenape continue to live in our community. They will be asked to imagine that they are the current Mayor of Philadelphia. They will write a letter to Tina Pierce Fragoso that takes ownership of the diaspora that occurred.

 

Guided Practice:

Students will be given a properly formatted example of a three paragraph letter. They will be reminded that these letters will be hand delivered to Ms. Fragoso in hopes that she shares them with the members of her tribe.

 

Check For Understanding:

The teacher will work one-on one with every student to emphasize the seriousness of the letter. They will be reminded of their distinguished position as Mayor of Philadelphia.

 

Closure:

Students will be reminded about the importance of peer review and editing in the writing process.

 

Homework:

Students will be asked to re-write the letter at least one time before handing it in on Day Ten.

 

DAY NINE

 

Objective:

Students will gain understanding of chronological order in the creation of a timeline of significant dates related to the Lenape Diaspora on a horizontal timeline.

 

Do Now:

Why is it important to know what year you were born?

 

Direct Instruction:

The class will discuss the significance of understanding when things occur. The dates “1776” and “1492” will be written on the board. We elicit responses as to why these two dates are significant.

 

Guided Practice:

Students will be given oblong paper and be asked to create a horizontal timeline that correctly identifies the following ten dates:

 

1492- Columbus sails from Europe in hopes of finding a shorter route to India

1524- Verrazano is greeted in New York Harbor; indigenous people are “not in awe”

1609- Hudson’s ships are attacked in New York Harbor

1624- Trade begins in earnest between Dutch Waloons and Unami Lenape on Burlington Island in the lower Delaware River

1655- The English take control of Dutch colonies

1682- Lenape Chief Tamanend signs a treaty with William Penn that helps establish Pennsylvania as a Quaker Colony

1737- The William Penn family removes the last Lenape settlement from the Delaware River

1758- The Treaty of Easton requires the Lenape to leave their homes and move to Western Pennsylvania and Ohio

1782- Ninety Lenape are massacred at Gnadenhutton and many of the survivors relocate to Canada

1992- The Delaware Nation Grand Council of North America is incorporated

 

Check For Understanding:

Students will be asked to choose which date/event of those provided is the most significant.

 

Closure:

Students will hand in timelines and extra credit will be awarded to three students who are willing to volunteer to articulate to the class which date they think is most significant.

 

Homework:

Students will give a review sheet to study from in anticipation of our Unit Test.

 

DAY TEN

 

Objective:

Students will demonstrate understanding of significant terms, places and people related to our Curriculum unit on the Lenape Diaspora.

 

Do Now:

Did you review your notebook in anticipation of our test?

 

Direct Instruction:

Students will be reminded of our test taking procedures.

 

Guided Practice:

Physical proximity and movement by the teacher will be utilized to ensure independent work by the students in attendance.

 

Check For Understanding:

Each individual student will be approached while testing in a effort to ensure 100% participation.

 

Closure:

Tests will be collected.

Homework:

Have a nice weekend 🙂

Annotated Bibliography

Fowler Williams, L., W. Wierzbowski, and R. Preucel editors. Native American Voices on Identity, Art and Culture: Objects of Everlasting Esteem. Philadelphia: Penn Museum Press, 2005.

 (This publication is an invaluable resource in the process of object identification)

 

Fragoso, Tina Pierce. “Recruiting Native American Students at Penn.” Expedition: Winter 2013.

(Ms. Fragoso’s article lends credence to the reality that the direct ancestors to the Lenape exist today)

 

Hoxie, Frederick, editor. Encyclopedia of North American Indians. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 1996.

(This reference book provides an exhaustive overview of many topics as they relate to the Native American experience)

 

Kee, Caroline. “Planting New Seeds: The Lenape Garden at Penn.” Expedition: Winter 2013.

(The concept of creating a garden that adheres to Lenape agricultural customs provides cross curricular opportunities with regard to the environment as it relates to the Science curriculum)

 

Smallwood, John. “Snyder fanning flames of racism.” Philadelphia Daily News: 26 March 2014.

(Smallwood’s discussion of the use of the word “Redskin” is an opportunity to elicit a contemporary issue)

 

Treur, Anton. Everything You Wanted to Know Indians, but Were Afraid to Ask. Minnesota: Borealis Books, 2012.

(This book provides a more modern and less formal reference guide to the Native American experience)

Appendix/Standards

The following are standards derived from the National Geography Standards Index created by the organization National Geographic (Framing Activity included in Parentheses):

 

  • Standard 1: How to use maps and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information (Diaspora Map Activity)
  • Standard 2: How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments (Lenape Garden Activity)
  • Standard 6: How culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions (William Penn Activity)
  • Standard 9: The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations (Timeline Activity)
  • Standard 17: How to apply geography to interpret the past (Letter Writing Activity)

 

The following are standards created by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Geography (Framing Activity included in Parentheses):

 

  • Standard 7.1.K.A.: Interpret a map of a known environment (Indigenous Peoples Activity Map)
  • Standard 7.1.K.B: Describe the location of places to gain an understanding of relative location (Diaspora Map Activity)
  • Standard 7.3.2: Identify the effect of local geography on the residents of the region (food, clothing, industry, trade, types of shelter, etc.) (Lenape Garden Activity)