The Lenni-Lenape (or simply “Lenape”) are the ancient root of many other American Indian nations. The Lenape homeland included all of New Jersey, northern Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, and southeastern New York. The Nanticoke are the people of the Delmarva between the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Our tribal nation of Nanticoke and Lenape people are the result of the coalescing of these two interrelated tribes, beginning as far back as the 1600’s.
Our ancestors never surrender their tribal identity or inherent sovereignty. From the mid 1600’s through to the establishment of the United States, we shared our homeland with the Swedes and Finns, Dutch and British… but, always kept our tribal community alive and well. Throughout much of the 1800s and 1900s, our tribal governance continued as a self isolating family-clan style leadership operating in conjunction with our tribal churches. By the 1970’s, a new generation of leaders began to advocate for our people in a more open manner among the non-native public and government agencies, reorganizing the tribe with an elected chief and council which no longer functioned solely within the traditional tribal church.
Brotherton Tribe (Lenni-Lenape) of Shamong, also known as Indian Mills
During the French and Indian War, the Lenni-Lenape (or Delaware) Indians of New Jersey were among the tribes that signed the Treaty of Easton of 1758. The tribes agreed not to support the French in the colonial conflict and to leave their eastern lands in exchange for a British promise to stop incursions into Indian territory west of the Alleghenies. While many Lenapes chose to leave New Jersey, a few who had converted to Christianity stayed. New Jersey set aside its first Indian reservation, known as "Brotherton," near present-day Indian Mills in Burlington County. Led by the Reverend John Brainerd, a missionary, approximately 200 Native Americans settled at Brotherton and established a community around grist- and sawmills.
Credit: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Brotherton Indians' Agreement to oppose white settlement.
January 6, 1780
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