LACKAWAXEN - To ensure a relationship among the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania and other members of the community continues, the Treaty of Renewed Brotherhood was signed at the Zane Grey Museum in Lackawaxen August 6.

Ceremonial Chief Chuck Gentlemoon explained that, the “non-binding treaty” is a renewal of friendship and working relations among people in the area.

The groups, Gentlemoon explained, will help each other as they work to inform the public of the tribe’s “homeland” while also ensuring the “sacredness” of the Lenape Sipu, also known as the Delaware River.

Gentlemoon told those who gathered that “everything begins and ends with the creator” and so, everyone works together and learns from one another. By the many people uniting, they are honoring the “people of the Lenape Sipu.”

Gentlemoon doesn’t call the river the “Delaware” because when it was discovered, the tribe was renamed the “Delaware Indians.” And so, the river is referred to as the “Lenape Sipu.”

Where the treaty was signed is also near where the Battle of Minisink occurred so many years ago. [This Revolutionary War battle occurred July 19-22, 1779, across the river from Lackawaxen at what we know as Minisink Ford, NY. British Loyalists and their ally, the Iroquois prevailed against the Continental Army.] Gentlemoon said the location for the signing is a “ceremonial place” given that history.    

Working with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and the Wallenpaupack Historical Society, those relationships Gentlemoon said, allows for people to learn from one another, whether they have “native blood or don’t.” Instead, people must unite because the “earth mother is crying.” Historical societies are important because they help people remember the past, which can affect the future.

From the Wallenpaupack Historical Society, Rolf Moeller spoke a little about the organization.

Diane Rosencrance, the executive director of the conservancy explained that the organization is a land trust for land conservancy in Pike and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania, as well as Sullivan and Delaware counties in New York. By working with landowners to place conservation easements on their land, the easement extinguishes the right, so the land remains open. But, the conservancy also works to preserve the water quality, natural resources and the wildlife in the region.

A portion of treaty read that those who signed recognized the Lenape tribe as the original inhabitants of eastern Pennsylvania. In a term of four years, those who signed committed to supporting the Lenape so they can maintain a “cultural identity” of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and the southern New York. In four years, a new treaty will be created. Through the relationships, the past shall be healed, the present will be secured and the future will be brightened, according to the treaty.

Every four years, Tribal Council Member Adam DePaul said aside from the treaty being resigned, members of the tribe and others interested take a “river journey” that starts in Hancock New York and concludes in Cape May New Jersey. The signing of the treaty is “significant” because of the many people and organizations that make the “wonderful journey possible.”

For more information about the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, visit https://www.lenape-nation.org/.

Rising Nation River Journey: Goals. From the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania

Raise awareness, awaken the spirit, and bestow the past, environmentally, culturally and historically, to the future

Promote the awareness that the Lenape people living in Pennsylvania are carrying on their ancestral traditions, culture and spiritual beliefs

Promote the awareness that the state of Pennsylvania is one of only a few states in this country that does not recognize its indigenous people, and to invite citizens and political representatives to sign this treaty, to fulfill the dream envisioned by founding fathers, William Penn and Chief Tamanend.

Put the fear, pain and humility of the past behind us, once and for all, and to walk together into the future.

[The visit in Lackawaxen was part of the 2018 Rising Nation River Journey hosted by the Lenape of Pennsylvania. The three-week journey started in Hancock, NY and culminated in Cape May, NJ, with various events along the way. The first journey was taken in 2002, with others taken in 2006, 2010 and 2014.]