Centuries ago there were several Lenape tribes residing in what is now the state of New Jersey. They were later called Delawares by the European settlers combining in this name all people who lived along the Delaware River. Native Americans call themselves Lenape, which means The People. During the second half of the 20th century the Lenape people began to reclaim their place in the cultural landscape of the region.
WheatonArts and the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey present, “Transitions and Connections: Celebrating Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Arts and Culture in South Jersey.” It is the fifth biennial Creative Community Connections project which was inaugurated in 2004. The project addresses the history and cultural heritage of New Jersey’s oldest and yet little-known Native American Community.
Education/Folklife Center Director, Dr. Iveta Pirgova, explains, “This project raises awareness of cultural heritage and helps to create a welcoming community setting for appreciating and sharing the folk and traditional arts of the region’s rich and diverse population. It reflects a commitment to programming that celebrates, educates and unites communities to promote tolerance and deep respect for artistic and cultural diversity.”
The five-month project includes:
• July 11 through Nov. 2, 2014. “Nanticoke-Lenape Story in Images and Artworks.” An exhibition at Tribal Headquarters in Bridgeton, NJ. The exhibition highlights the tribal history, arts and culture from the perspective of the Nanticoke-Lenape people and explores the influence of historical events on cultural identities over time, and the concepts of continuity and adaption in various historical contexts.
• Educational Programs: “Interviews in the Classroom” oral history program; fieldwork practicum for students; exhibition-related experiences for school groups; lectures; hands-on demonstrations; and professional development programs for educators.
• Sept. 20. A Day of Celebration! Lenapowsi: Nanticoke-Lenape Music, Dance and Craft at WheatonArts. Narrated dance presentations (pow wow and social) will take place in a traditional circle. Host Drum: Red Blanket Singers of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Special demonstrations in folk and traditional arts. Presentation of the various regalia. Storytelling will take place between dance demonstrations. Visitors will be invited to join the Friendship dance. Native American craft and food vendors will be on site.
• Oct. 17. “Nanticoke-Lenape Cultural Heritage in New Jersey” Conference at WheatonArts Education/Folklife Center. Presentations focus on preserving Nanticoke-Lenape cultural heritage in New Jersey. It is a special professional development opportunity for educators but is open to the public.
• Oct. 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. Nanticoke-Lenape Bone and Woodcarving demonstration with Richard Joseph at the WheatonArts Education/Folklife Center. This is a Wheaton Wide Open Weekend with free admission for all visitors (presented by PNC Arts Alive!).
■ Dec. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. Nanticoke-Lenape Wampum Making demonstration with John Norwood at the WheatonArts Education/Folklife Center. Nanticoke-Lenape Beadwork demonstration with Rachel Ridgway at Tribal Headquarters, Bridgeton, NJ. This is a Wheaton Wide Open Weekend with free admission for all visitors (presented by PNC Arts Alive!).
For more information call 800-998-4552 or visit wheatonarts.org