Traditional Fancy Dancer, at the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenapi Indian Pow Wow (Steve Greer /

Traditional Fancy Dancer, at the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenapi Indian Pow Wow (Steve Greer /

Pronounced NAN-tee-coke LEN-ah La-NAH-pay, Lenni-Lenape means “Original People” or “Ancient Ones” and reflects the belief by Algonquian-speaking tribes that the Lenni-Lenape were the first human beings on the East Coast of North America. Nanticoke means “Tidewater People”.

Dating back at least 10,000 years, Lenni-Lenape territory included southeastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, all of New Jersey, and part of Maryland and Delaware. The Nanticoke lived along the Delaware and Maryland shore areas.

The arrival of Europeans four hundred years ago spelled diaster for the native people of the East Coast. Many died from diseases to which they had no immunity, and others were killed outright. Others were victims of the federal government’s “Relocation Policy”, in which they were forcibly relocated to reservations in the West and Canada.

Today more than 2800 members belong to this tribe. It is the largest and most vibrant tribe of Lenni-Lenape still living on Ancestral Lands.


Each year, these Native Americans reach out and share their culture with the non-Native world by hosting a Pow-wow. They welcome the opportunity to show visitors a side of American history not often found in text books.

Pow-wow has always meant a gathering together. A chance for Native people to see old friends, feast, trade, and have good natured competitions. Through song and dance, it is also a time to honor and celebrate fallen warriors of the past, and recognize the contributions of Indian community members.

For more photos of the Lenni-Lenape Indians visit my website

For more information, visit The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey