In August of 2015 Time and the Valleys Museum received a large and important Collection of local Native American artifacts found in the areas of Ellenville, Kerhonkson, Warwarsing, Grahamsville, Napanoch, Walden and Mongaup.
The collection was donated by former resident and long time collector Robert L. Evans, who grew up in Walden, NY. “I have been collecting these items since I was young. I am now almost 77 years old, and want them to be seen and appreciated by visitors, and used as an educational tool to teach them about the local Native Americans and how they lived.”
The most recent Native Americans living in the lower Catskills and Hudson Valley were the Delaware or Lenape, (meaning “common” or “ordinary” people). This large Native group once inhabited New Jersey, lower New York, and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut. The Lenape consisted of smaller, localized bands with names we still know today, such as the Esopus, Warwarsinks (Warwarsing), Mamekotings (Mamakating) and Wappangers.
Museum archivists are cleaning and assessing the collection, which contains many stone tools necessary for the survival of the Native Americans prior to European contact, including projectile points and spears for hunting game, hammer stones and ax heads for building, scrapers for preparing hides for tanning and grinding stones and pestles for grinding corn into flour.
The bulk of the Lenape Native American artifacts will be added to the Museum’s permanent collections, with many placed in the Native American section of the exhibition, The Impact of Water on the Life and Growth of the Valleys. Duplicate artifacts and lesser pieces will be used in the programs developed for school field trips. These artifacts are an educational tool and students will actually handle the artifacts, and in some instances use them just as the Lenape did centuries ago. They are an invaluable learning tool providing students with a rare and unique hands on lesson about a truly local piece of American History.
You can learn more about the Lenape from one of several books we have available in the Museum Gift Shop.
First half of the only complete history of ALL the tribes that were located in New York! Readers will learn about Native Americans’ customs, organization, wars and treaties. Volume I begins with Dutch explorer Henry Hudson’s arrival and reconstructs the history of dozens of tribes in the Northeast. It includes the nations of the Lenni Lenape, the Mohicans and the Iroquois. By E.M. Ruttenberger, 208 pages.
The second half of this monumental work takes us through the wars to displacement of the tribes. It deals with their battles, provides biographies of noted Native Americans and explores Native American languages. It includes a 100 page appendix of language and additional bios. By E.M. Ruttenberger, 246 pages, indexed.
The Delaware Indians or Lenni Lenape as they called themselves, was originally the most powerful Native American group in the east, perhaps in the Americas. E.J. Adams, a descendant of Delaware Indians, presents this sketch of the history, language, legends and government of the tribe of his ancestors, circa 1906. Includes footnotes, appendix and new index.