October 29, 2007

The granddaddy of all Indians

Lenni-Lenape spirit alive in BucksIn her presentation to village visitors, Custer explains that the Lenape tribe was known as the grandfather of all Native Americans because it was a peaceful tribe. Led by Chief Tammany—or Tamanend, as he is more popularly known—they tried to resolve conflict without force. They followed many of the same beliefs as the Irish and Quaker cultures, which Custer believes, is why the Lenape got along so well with William Penn, with whom they shared their land.

As Custer explained, the Lenape believed life was a learning experience. Children were made to think for themselves and were seldom punished, especially if there was a lesson to be learned. The tribe learned to live in harmony with nature and maintain a balance with every living thing. One credo was, “Let the first three go by and take the fourth.” If the Lenape were gathering eggs, they would save one for the animals, one for the birds, the third for procreation and take the fourth for the tribe.
You probably heard what happened to the Tammany name. From ExplorePAhistory.com:The Delaware had their own accounts of Pennsylvania’s mythic founding encounter, which revolved around the revered Chief Tammany, or Tamanen, whose mark appears on a 1683 deed ceding lands north of Philadelphia to William Penn. In the 1770s colonists appropriated his name, organizing “Tammany societies” that supported American independence. In the early 1800s, the Democratic Party that ran New York City for decades to come took on the name, “Tammany Hall.”

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