Honoring Indigenous Lifeways

This was in the November 22, 2021 Monday Mashup newsletter published by the National Park Service Interior Region 1.

Photo caption: White cedars, sacred to northeastern Woodland cultures, frame the Eastern door to the teaching circle where Chief White Otter Coker shares the history of his people, the Lenape, with the younger generation.
Photo: RuthAnn Purchase, Lenape Indians of Delaware

Advancing Partnerships — On Saturday, November 13, NPS Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance and US Fish and Wildlife Service employees participated in a volunteer work party to help clean and restore the Lenape Forest Garden, an area sacred to those Lenape who have remained for centuries here in the Village of Fork Branch, Kent County, Delaware. The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge’s Mobilize Green interns, Appoquinimink High School Environmental Club, and other volunteers removed invasive plants and trash in preparation for planting native species.

Chief White Otter Coker of the Lenape people described the reorganization of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, the process for obtaining a Federal Census District, and the importance of cultural honor in environmental regeneration. Chief White Otter inspired the student interns helping with the Lenape Forest Garden restoration project to plant native species everywhere they volunteer.

NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance participation in this event is part of a series of similar events and dialogues to build understanding and relationships with the indigenous communities of the region and to support the common conservation and outdoor recreation objectives of the tribes and NPS.

1 thought on “Honoring Indigenous Lifeways

  1. This was the first time Jim Shanahan visited our project or had ever met Chief White Otter. He is a founding member of the Brandywine River Shad Restoration Project and was the first non-Tribal person to include Lenape Language in their PR! Yeah, Jim!

    Here is an article about his work:


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