Deer, elk, black bear, raccoon, beaver, and rabbit were among the animals hunted for meat, skins, and sinew, and the bear’s fat was melted, purified, and stored in skin bags. Turkeys, ducks, geese, and other birds were killed for meat and feathers.
The Delaware Indians were farming people. Lenape women did most of the farming, harvesting corn, squash and beans. Lenape men went hunting for deer, elk, turkeys, and small game, and caught fish in the rivers and inlets. Delaware Indian foods included soup, cornbread, dumplings and salads.
When they returned from their hunting trips, they brought back meat and animal furs with them. The Lenape hunted animals such as bear, deer, elk, and raccoon. They hunted and trapped birds, too.
The men were responsible for hunting and fishing. The Lenape numbered over 20,000 and lived in villages of longhouses containing several hundred people, but in the summer they would build temporary camps consisting of birchbark wigwams (wetu) for purposes of hunting and gathering.
Lenni Lenape Agriculture and The Three Sisters The Lenni Lenape’s major farming staples were corn, winter squash, and climbing beans. This group is called “The Three Sisters”, and was a very popular combination across the Americas (and particularly in the North East).
Women’s roles among the Lenape were clearly defined: the woman had full charge of the home; in fact, she was considered the owner of the house. The woman took care of the food preparation and the man procured the game animals. The woman took care of planting and the garden and the man cleared the land for the gardens.
Their land, called Lenapehoking, included all of what is now New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York State, northern Delaware and a small section of southeastern Connecticut. Today, Lenape communities live all across North America.
The Lenape, Lenappe, Lenapi or Lenni Lenape (meaning “the people” or “true people” ) are a group of several bands of Native American people who share cultural and linguistic traits. They are also known as the Delaware Indians.
The clothing of the Lenape was simple. The men wore breechclouts and moccasins, with leggings and a robe to cover themselves in cold weather. Women had knee- or calf-length wrap-around skirts and wore fur robes in winter, or a beautiful mantle made from turkey feathers.
The water made the dried food swell up and become soft enough to eat. Some Lenape also dug deep, wide holes or storage pits into the earth. Dried meat, dried fish, nuts, and other dried foods were placed in these storage pits. Stored foods helped the Lenape survive the cold winter.
Though they grew some crops, including corn, beans, and squash, the Lenape devoted most of their time to hunting, fishing, and gathering and preparing wild plant foods.
Clan Symbols: These represent the three clans of the Lenape: Turtle, Wolf and Turkey.
Today, Lenape people belong to the Delaware Nation and Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma; the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin; and the Munsee-Delaware Nation, Moravian of the Thames First Nation, and Delaware of Six Nations in Ontario.
The Lenape are considered to be one of the oldest tribes in the Northeast, existing for over 10,000 years. The Lenape lived in what is now New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Delaware.
Lenape is an eastern Algonquian language originally spoken in eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York, all of New Jersey, and northern Delaware.