Last modified: 2017-08-23 by rick wyatt
Keywords: thunder mountain lenape | pennsylvania | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Thunder Mountain Lenapé - Pennsylvania
One of the requirements for federal recognition of an Indian tribe is geographical - the tribe must be resident in either their traditional homeland or must exist in a place assigned to them by the federal government. The latter is especially true for the more than three dozen tribes forcibly relocated to what is now Oklahoma. This requirement does not take into account those tribal members, or their descendants who escaped forced relocation or "dropped out along the way". The Lenni Lenapé, or Delaware, have two federally recognized components - The Delaware Tribe based in Eastern Oklahoma and the Delaware of Western Oklahoma. Their traditional homeland includes Delaware, New Jersey and parts of New York and Pennsylvania. In their move westward, the Lenni Lenapé spent time in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas before finally settling in Oklahoma.
Thunder Mountain Lenapé Nation is a descendant community of Delaware that never went beyond the Ohio border, or voluntarily moved into the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. Thunder Mountain Lenapé Nation is an independent nation of Delaware, which does not have federal recognition as Native Americans, because their ancestors never made it to Oklahoma and therefore do not appear on the rolls of the Delaware Nations in Oklahoma.
Thunder Mountain Lenapé Nation members live throughout Pennsylvania and continue the traditions, religion and ceremonies of the Lenape. They participate in many folk festivals and lecture on the culture and history of the Lenape. In recognition of their ancestry, Thunder Mountain Lenapé Nation was asked by the federal government to act as caretaker of a 16th century eastern woodland village site checking on signs of land erosion and discouraging vandalism and graffiti.
© Donald Healy 2008
Serving as a symbol of the Thunder Mountain Lenapé is a flag of three horizontal stripes, red over white over black. These are three essential colors in the art of the Lenape people and can be seen in the flag of the Oklahoma based Delaware. They can be seen recalling the three main dialect groups of the Delaware people - the Munsee, Unami, and Unalactigo or the three traditional clans the Turtle, Wolf, and Turkey.
Centered on the flag and overlapping the three stripes is the circular seal of Thunder Mountain Lenapé Nation. The seal is purple with a black zigzag pattern around the outer edge to appear as a Native American shield. Within this is a ring bearing the words "Thunder Mountain Lenapé Nation" in black. According to Pat Selinger, Turtle Clan Mother of Thunder Mountain Lenapé Nation, this is a recent alteration; originally the wording read "Thunder Mountain Band". Centered on the seal is the outline of a mountain. Crossing the mountain is a yellow lightning bolt running from upper left to just past center and ending in a black arrow point. The lightning acts as a graphic symbol for thunder, thus "Thunder Mountain". Downward pointing arrows are generally considered in native iconography to be a symbol of peace.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 1 February 2008