Author Topic: Adam Depaul AKA Adam Waterbear, Lenape Nation of PA  (Read 4026 times)

Offline educatedindian

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Adam Depaul AKA Adam Waterbear, Lenape Nation of PA
« on: January 23, 2023, 02:32:34 am »
Got a request about him. Of the "Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania."

Depaul makes a lot of cultural presentations on Lenape.

DePaul, originally from the Poconos, is a Tribal Council member and storykeeper for the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania. He feels close to all natural places that are part of the Lenapehoking, or Lenape homeland, which stretches from the western edge of Connecticut to Delaware, including Philadelphia, Bucks County, and much of southeastern Pennsylvania.
...the Rising Nation River Journey. In this quadrennial event, members of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania take a three-week paddle down the Delaware River, beginning in Hancock, New York, and ending at the river’s terminus in Cape May, New Jersey.
A document known as the Treaty of Renewed Friendship travels with the paddlers; they make stops along the way for ceremonies and treaty signings with environmental groups, historical societies, and other organizations....


But the LNP is not recognized and likely never could be.

For Years, People Said There Were No Lenape Left in Pennsylvania. This Group Begs to Differ.
The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania is fighting for governmental recognition — despite pushback from other Lenape tribes — raising big questions about who gets to call themselves Native and how the state views its history.

by SAMANTHA SPENGLER· 11/6/2021, 9:00 p.m.

....those affiliated with the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania (LNPA) — the nonprofit group hosting the powwow — maintain that some Lenape never left.

Now, LNPA members are making a push for government recognition of their status as a tribe...made even more complicated by vigorous objections from other Lenape tribes who question the legitimacy of the LNPA.

Founded in 1998 by Chief Bill Whippoorwill Thompsan as the Eastern Lenape Nation, the LNPA is a nonprofit comprised mainly of people who descend from marriages between Lenape women and white men. It’s currently the only group claiming Native heritage in Pennsylvania — the remnant of what was once a 20,000-strong society here. There are officially recognized ancestral tribes in New Jersey and Delaware: the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape in Bridgeton, the Ramapough in Mahwah, the Powhatan Renape in Pennsauken, the Lenape Tribe of Indians in Dover. Pennsylvania’s settlers and state institutions dispersed Indigenous people more effectively than in New Jersey and Delaware, its Lenape didn’t form a cohesive community in the 200 years that followed the mass forced removals.

...Adam Waterbear DePaul, a member of the LNPA’s tribal council and the organization’s story keeper....

It wasn’t until the 1950s that descendants in Pennsylvania organized and appointed an informal chief, and almost another 50 years before the LNPA officially formed. Now, there are 397 people on the membership rolls who have sufficiently proven their Lenape lineage, using whatever documentation they had — birth records, newspaper clippings, photos, diaries. There are members scattered across the country, but most are concentrated in Eastern Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

The organization is working to revitalize the Lenape language, called Unami, on the East Coast, hosting classes led by Adam DePaul’s mother, Shelley. Leaders collaborate with Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore and Haverford colleges to offer classes and speak on their culture and other Indigenous issues. Members view themselves as stewards of the Lenape homeland and organize environmentally focused events, consulting with nonprofit groups like the Friends of the Wissahickon. The organization’s most public endeavor is the Rising Nation River Journey, a once-every-four-years trek down the Delaware River that culminates in the signing of a “treaty of renewed brotherhood” between the LNPA and such organizations as the Friends of the Wissahickon, the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society, the City of Easton and the Penn Museum. In the time between river journeys, the tribe hosts festivals and annual powwows like September’s Return to Mauch Chunk.

....Some colleges, for instance, opt to work instead with the federally recognized Lenape in Oklahoma....

About 1,000 Lenape arrived in Oklahoma in the 1860s, and today, the state is home to two federally recognized Lenape nations, the Delaware Nation in Anadarko and the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Bartlesville. Wisconsin is host to the Stockbridge-Munsee,­ and two more federally recognized Lenape nations reside in Ontario.

...By the early 1700s, Lenape had gathered near present-day Cheswold, Delaware, and formed communities throughout southern New Jersey in combination with the Nanticoke people of Maryland.

Indigenous groups put significant emphasis on the history of tribal identity. As part of its mission to preserve the “inherent tribal sovereignty” of its affiliated members, the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes — of which two state-recognized Lenape tribes, in New Jersey and Delaware, are a part — released guidance in 2013 for state governments on establishing recognition criteria. Among the list of requirements is that a tribe has “maintained tribal identity in some manner that can be documented to have continued from at least the 19th century or earlier.” But 200 years passed between the departure of the main body of the Lenape people to the west in the late 18th century and the founding of the LNPA in 1998. Whether or not Lenape people continued to live covertly in Pennsylvania, it’s undisputed that there was no continuous tribal entity in the region. In the eyes of some other Indigenous people — and according to the established criteria — this makes the LNPA a fabricated tribe.

Though scant, there is some evidence that Lenape were living in the state after removal efforts. A 1901 article in the Inquirer,­ for example, describes a petition to the U.S. Indian Affairs Commission claiming that the Walking Purchase was fraudulent. The petitioners said they were descendants of members of a smaller tribe of Lenape that was never transported west.

But the Delaware Tribe of Indians holds that no Lenape people exist outside its membership and that of the four other federally recognized nations. In 2015, their tribal council passed a resolution opposing “fabricated Delaware ‘tribes,’ ‘groups,’ and ‘Indians.’”

Jeremy Johnson is a member of the nation’s tribal council. He says the tribe “truly believes that because of the way our societies were set up, we left no relatives behind. Anyone who was ‘left behind’ of Lenape descent was absorbed and adopted into other legitimate tribes.”

By that logic, the Delaware Tribe considers both state-recognized tribes and organizations like the LNPA to be inauthentic and denounces their existence on the grounds that they jeopardize the “sovereignty and reputation of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and the general public.” These groups, they claim, are being allocated public and private funds in “epidemic proportions,” yet are unqualified to represent the Lenape people or speak publicly about Lenape heritage.

The Delaware say they are the true keepers of the Lenape identity, and it’s they who should be consulted if local Pennsylvanians want to learn more about the state’s original inhabitants. Even though they are now located in Oklahoma, the tribe’s members feel as connected as ever to Lenapehoking. “We’re still dealing with the vestiges of colonialism,” says Curtis Zunigha, the Delaware Tribe of Indians’ cultural director. “I’m sitting out here in Oklahoma when I should be sitting at the same table as you and the mayor and the governor.” If Pennsylvania’s state government is going to renew a connection with a Lenape group, he says, it should be with the federally recognized nations, not an organization like the LNPA.

The Delaware Nation in Anadarko holds a similar opinion. In February, it appointed a representative to combat what it refers to as “Corporations Posing as Indigenous Nations.” Hereditary chief Daniel StrongWalker Thomas said in a press release that “the forced removal of the Lenape people from Lenapehoking, combined with continued exclusion from contemporary events and happenings,” has resulted in an increasing number of “pretendians.” Those claiming membership in tribes or organizations other than the five federally recognized nations are masking their theft “within a robe of cultural preservation and unproven Indigenous lineage.”

....Donna Fann-Boyle, a Pennsylvania-based activist of Cherokee descent, accepts the LNPA’s claim that there are people in the state descended from the Lenape who stayed in the region. But because the organization didn’t retain a tribal identity or act as a continuous political entity in the years following the displacement of the rest of the Lenape, it shouldn’t get the same recognition as the tribes that have endured for centuries, she says.

The fact that the LNPA, acting as a tribal group, has written treaties with local universities and organizations is “disrespectful, and it’s not the way that Native people behave,” says Fann-Boyle, who leads the Coalition of Natives & Allies (CNA), a Pennsylvania-based organization devoted to eliminating racist Native mascots and imagery across the state. She says that only recognized tribes who have gone through the arduous process of proving their history have the right to make treaties (and do so sparingly and as needed, not every four years, like the LNPA), the authority to speak about their culture at schools and universities, and the ability to present themselves as a tribal nation. Of the LNPA, Fann-Boyle says: “They’re breaking traditions.”

“It shouldn’t be just a feel-good moment,” says Donna Fann-Boyle. “Like all of a sudden, we’re going to do something right to make up for the wrong. Because if they do that, then they’re just making the wrong worse.”

But when it comes to Pennsylvania, tribal tradition is hard to define. Because there are no established tribes in the state, and because the state government doesn’t have an office or department dedicated to Indigenous affairs, there is no real process for Pennsylvania’s Native groups to become recognized.

The federal Lenape tribes and Indigenous activists who see the LNPA as trying to force its way into state recognition worry that the good headlines politicians could grab with a recognition bill will hold more weight than centuries of established ideas as to what constitutes tribal authenticity. Recognizing the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania would create, critics say, a new, modern tribe — one that would make a mockery of the long-standing persecution of tribal groups across the country and the centuries of work they’ve put into establishing their authority and identities. “It shouldn’t be just a feel-good moment,” says Fann-Boyle. “Like all of a sudden, we’re going to do something right to make up for the wrong. Because if they do that, then they’re just making the wrong worse.”

...Leaders of the Delaware Tribe of Indians plan to bring their concerns to Pennsylvania state officials should the LNPA’s recognition efforts move forward. “The legislature, as we’ve discovered firsthand through a visit, is naive and very uneducated,” says Arla Patch, a non-Native activist with CNA. The CNA wants lawmakers to consider the criteria other state tribes in the U.S. have had to meet before they start thinking about any legislation — criteria that would effectively bar the LNPA from recognition....

Their site.