• Todd Petrella

The Lenape - Here Before Us


This past Monday celebrated Indigenous People’s Day, a day that honors and remembers Native American peoples and their culture. According to the World Population Review, there are 574 Native American tribes that are federally recognized. Within this number exists the Lenape tribe, a tribe that inhabited the area that is now Philadelphia, as well as, other parts of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and also northern Delaware. The University of Delaware is located within this range, and as the majority of us at UP Cycle Design hail from UD, I wanted to dedicate this blog post to our terrestrial ancestors.



Archaeological evidence suggests that the Lenape inhabited their land for centuries before European settlers arrived. They were a nomadic group that settled alongside rivers and lakes, and survived on hunting and growing crops. Due to their heavy usage of the land, the soils became depleted of nutrients, and the Lenape would have to relocate, hence their nomadic nature. They lived in single door huts called wigwams (ironically, something that I built during my freshman year) and used the natural resources surrounding them to build tools, clothes, and other structures. The Lenape were part of the Algonquian language family, and were split into three sub-tribes, all speaking a different dialect of the Algonquian language.

The Lenape had set up trade deals with Dutch and Swedish settlers around the early 1600s, and they made first contact with European settlers in 1677, when Quaker William Warner settled on the west side of the Delaware River. It’s said that Warner negotiated with the Lenape and purc