From the Office of the Chief - July
Kula Malsi Hach Lenapeok, Wuli Kishku Sikan,
How are my Lenape relatives, it’s a good spring day. This spring has been very
eventful for the Delaware Tribe. The first event we were invited
to was the unveiling of the original September 17, 1778 treaty between the Delaware Tribe and the colonies that became the United States. This treaty was
the first treaty between an Indian tribe and the colonists, preceded by Benjamin Franklin’s “First Treaty of Paris” with France by only about six months. The original treaty is now on display at the National Museum of the American
Indian in Washington D.C. Five Delaware Tribal Council Members (Bonnie Jo Griffith, Benita Shea, Nicky Michael, Charles Randall, Nathan Young) and myself were invited to come to the National Museum of the American Indian for the unveiling of this treaty.
The treaty itself promised the Delaware Tribe an all-Indian state (Ohio) of which the Delawares would be the head. It also had provisions of friendship with
the colonists, provisions permitting free passage of Continental Armies through Delaware territory, and in general was intended to get the Delaware Tribe to convince many of the Ohio tribes to remain neutral in the continuing
Revolutionary War. At least half of our tribe and half of the other Ohio tribes did stay neutral in the Revolutionary War, and if our people and those other tribes had not stayed neutral and instead joined the British in the war, there might not be a United States of America today. Our three Chiefs who put their mark and seal on this treaty were Hopachan (Captain Pipe), Wiccolind (White Eyes), and my sixth great uncle Gelemend (John Killbuck, Jr). Captain Pipe shortly became disgruntled with the colonists’ broken promises and joined the British.
White Eyes was asked within the year to guide colonial forces to Detroit and was assassinated en route by those same colonial forces, who reported back to our
people that he had died of smallpox. The reason everyone knows that White Eyes did not die from smallpox is because he survived it at an early age. John Killbuck,
Jr remained loyal to the colonists and fought on the colonists’ side through the remainder of the war, and several years later gave up his Chieftainship to become a Christian. In closing about this interesting treaty, we will print sections of it in future editions of the DIN.
After spending the morning at the NMAI treaty unveiling, our delegation traveled to visit the BIA at the Department of the Interior. Our visit was with Acting
Assistant Secretary John Tahsuda concerning our Caney, Kansas trust application, which after five years has finally progressed to the Washington DC central office.
Hopefully, this trust application will soon be acted on in our favor.
In addition to the above happenings, the Tribal Cultural Preservation Committee recently sponsored a Stomp Dance on our new Stomp Dance area behind our community center. Finally, the Delaware Tribal Powwow, while hot, at least made
it through its 54th year without rain. Lapichknewal (We’ll meet again)