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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Lenape Lifeways: Kinnelon's Native American History & Culture

Did you by chance attend the Lenape Lifeways program sponsored by the Kinnelon Libary on 12/6/08? I missed it, but have gained a taste for the rich heritage of the Lenape thanks to Galina Adair, head of the Kinnelon Children's Library, and Louise [LuLu] Solomon [see Kinnelon Library Holds Chagall Art Workshop], her right hand, who graciously agreed to share perspective and background on an event so relevant to the history and culture of Kinnelon.

The Kinnelon Public Library holds many programs for families, children, teens, adults and for the community at large. One mission of the library is for patrons to know that this is where you can read a book, find information, meet a friend and join in on the many programs offered. The programs are chosen to better educate Kinnelon residents in culture and history through lectures, movies, discussions, and with the help of special guests who share their experiences.

One program recently presented at the library, and planned by the Children's Library for the whole community, was about the indigenous people who lived right here many years ago: the Lenape Native Americans, renamed the Delaware Indians by the Europeans.

This presentation included many artifacts which covered 8 long tables. The speaker, John T. Kraft, is the son of the most famous sociologist of the Lenape Nation, Herbert Kraft, who has written many books on the Lenapes.

John Kraft, a most charismatic speaker, encouraged everyone there to handle the artifacts and to guess for what they were used. Patiently and with enthusiasm, he spoke to everyone who wished to talk with him, as he had the unusual life and privilege to live among the Lenapes with his family.

The program included history and wonderful, brightly lit slides of their way of life, narrated by John Kraft, dressed in full Lenape apparel.

Although the program was supposed to be an hour, it stretched a bit longer as everyone wanted to know more and more on the subject of these natives whose land we live and walk on. [Here are some kids' games.]

He taught a few words to the participants as he knows the language [Lenape is pronounced Leh-NAH-pay & means "true people".].

This presentation and presenter come from a non-profit organization called "Lenape Lifeways." Books were offered for sale and were 'snapped up.'

We received very positive feedback on the event, including this comment: "The most worthwhile hour spent; it was as if we were watching history unfold."

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I had regrets before reading LuLu's description. Afterwards, I felt remorse and deep regret to have missed out on such an educational experience.  If you participated, would you share your perspectives? Did you take photos?  What did you take away from the event?

Galina and LuLu, thanks so very much for putting on such an event and for sharing it with us here. I know I look forward to more of these terrific opportunities.



PS: If you'd like to learn more about Native American Art & Culture, consider reading MedecineHorse7's blog Native Art & Design.


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