The Delaware Public Archives will commemorate Native American Heritage month with a presentation by Dennis J. Coker, principal chief of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 10:30 a.m.
Representing the “First People of the First State,” the Lenape Indian Tribe is located in northern Kent County in and around the town of Cheswold. Its people, who are ethnically distinct, have been known historically as the Delaware Moors.
For hundreds of years the Cheswold Lenape community has coexisted with their neighbors of European and African descent largely through attending separate churches and schools. Their separate schools closed in the mid-1960s as a result of Delaware’s desegregation efforts.
During the early 1990s, in response to a resurgence of native awareness and pressures from the outside, elders of the Cheswold Lenape community decided to celebrate their unique history and formed the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware. On Aug. 3, 2016, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation officially recognizing the Lenape Community in Cheswold as a Sovereign Indigenous Nation.
A lifelong resident of Kent County, Coker has been honored to serve as the elected Principal Chief of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware since 1996. During his term, Chief Coker has established successful collaborations with the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office and the Federal Census Bureau.
The program is free to the public and will last around one hour. No reservations are required.