Delaware Tribe of Indians
Historically Delaware Territory extended along the Delaware and Hudson river valleys in what are today the states of New Jersey, Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania and southeastern New York. The name Delaware was given to the people who lived along the Delaware River and the river in turn was named after Lord de la Warr, the governor of the Jamestown colony in what was to become Virginia.
In the Delaware language, the tribe calls themselves Lenape (len-NAH-pay), which means something like "The People." The tribe's ancestors were among the first Indians to come in contact with the Europeans (Dutch, English, and Swedish) in the early 1600s. The Delaware Tribe was respected by other tribes. Despite this peaceful reputation, they were also known for their fierceness and tenacity as warriors when fighting became necessary. Many of the early battles and subsequent treaties between Europeans and Native Americans were carried out by the Delaware with Dutch, and later, English settlers, who slowly encroached on Delaware lands.
By the time of the American Revolution, most Delaware had been removed from their homelands and had established new settlements in what would later become Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The Delaware later signed the first Indian treaty with the newly formed United States Government on September 17, 1778, and the last Delaware resistance to U.S. expansion ended in 1795. Throughout the 19th century, the main body of the Delaware were continually forced to give up their lands and move westward - first to lands in Ohio, then to Indiana, Missouri, Kansas and finally, northeastern portions of what was then the Cherokee Nation, now eastern Oklahoma. One small band of Delawares left the larger group in the late 1700s and through different migrations are today located at Anadarko, Oklahoma. Small contingents of Delawares also fled to Canada during a time of extreme persecution in the Ohio settlements and today occupy three reserves in Ontario (The Delaware Nation at Moraviantown, The Munsee-Delaware Nation, and the Six Nations Reserve).
Today the Delaware tribe maintains ties to their heritage through rituals, dance and song. They host the Delaware Powwow on Memorial Day Weekend and hold a number of Stomp Dances throughout the year. Pahsaheman, a Lenape football game that differs greatly from the non-Indian version, is still played on Saturday morning of the Delaware Powwow.