Delaware / Lenape

Famous Lenape and Delaware Chiefs / Leaders

Allaquippa – A Delaware woman sachem of this name lived in 1755 near the mouth of Youghiogheny River, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and there may have been a small Delaware settlement known by her name.

Hendrick Aupaumut – A Stockbridge sachem (leader).

Dan Barker, founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Black Beaver – (Born at the present site of Belleville, Illinois, in 1806 – Died at Anadarko, Oklahoma, May 8, 1880) Delaware leader, scout, and rancher. First inductee into the American Indian Hall of Fame.

He was present as interpreter at the earliest conference with the Comanche, Kiowa, and Wichita tribes, held by Col. Richard Dodge on upper Red River in 1834, and from then on,  his services were constantly required by the Government and were invaluable to military and scientific explorers of the plains and the Rocky Mountains.

In nearly every one of the early transcontinental ex­peditions, he was the most trusted guide and scout.

Buckongahelas (Breaker in Pieces) – A wolf clan war leader and Delaware chief who lived during the Revolutionary period, born during the first half of the 18th century. He was the son of Wewandochwalend. Buckongahelas became the head warrior of all the Delaware Indians then residing on the Miami and White Rivers.

He sided with the English against the colonists, but does not appear to have been cruel to non-combatants. The conduct of the English at the battle of Presque Isle, Ohio, in 1794, so disgusted him that his sympathies were diverted to the United States.

He was present at Ft McIntosh, where Beaver, Pennsylvania, now stands, when the treaty of 1785 was made, but his name is not among the signers. He was a signer, however, of the treaty of Greenville, Ohio, August 3, 1795, the treaty of Ft. Wayne, Indana, June 7, 1803, and the treaty of Vincennes, Indiana, August 18, 1804. He died soon after signing the last treaty.

Nora Thompson Dean (Touching Leaves Woman, 1907–1984) – Traditionalist, herbalist, and language instructor.

Gelelemend (Leader), also known as Killbuck and William Henry – A Delaware sachem, born about 1722.  He was chosen on the death of White Eyes, about 1778, to succeed him as acting chief of the nation as the hereditary sachem of the Turtle or Unami division. 

Like his predecessor, he strove to maintain friendship with the whites, and was encouraged in this by the Indian agents and military commandants at Pittsburg who promised the aid of the American Government in the uplifting and civilization of the Indians if a lasting peace could be obtained.

A war party, led by Hopocan, broke the peace agreement, and Gelelemend was removed with others of the peace party to an island in Allegheny River.

A party of murderous white men returning from the massacre of nearly 100 Christian Delawares at Gnadenhuetten in 1782, and all but a few on the island were killed. Gelelemend made his escape by swimming, but the documents that William Penn had given to the Indians were destroyed.

His services were of value in bringing about a general peace, but the Munsee held him responsible for the misfortunes that had befallen the Delawares, and to escape their vengeance he remained with his family at Pittsburg long after peace was proclaimed.

He joined the Moravian Indians in the end and lived under the protection of the settlement for the rest of his life. He was baptized by the name of William Henry and lived till January, 1811.

Glikhikan – A Delaware warrior and orator was one of the chief captains of the Delawares, who, in an argument with the French priests in Canada had in the opinion of the Indians, refuted the Christian doctrine.

Thinking to achieve a similar victory and win back paganism from the Christian Delawares, he challenged the Moravian missionaries to a debate in 1769. To the dismay of his admirers he was himself converted to Christianity, and in the following year went to live with the United Brethren.

In the Revolutionary war his diplomacy saved the Christian settlements from destruction at the hands of the Huron under Half-King in 1777, and when the latter, on Sept. 4, 1781, captured him and the German missionaries, their chief saved Glikhikan from the wrath of his Munsee tribesmen who were with the Huron.

Glikhikan was murdered and scalped at Gnaden-huetten on Mar. 8, 1782, by the white savages under Col. David Williamson.

Mark Gould or  Quiet Hawk – Chief of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation.

Indian Hannah, aka Hannah Freeman (1730–1802) – Was said to be the last of the Lenni-Lenape Indians in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Captain Jacobs – War chief

Charles Journeycake – Chief of the Wolf Clan from 1855 and principal chief from 1861. Visited Washington, DC 24 times on his tribe’s behalf.

Sachem Killbuck (Gelelemend), Turtle clan leader

Konieschquanoheel or Konieschguanokee, meaning  “maker of daylight.” The real name of Captain Pipe, the head of the Delaware Wolf clan in 1775. His nickname, however, was Hopocan, meaning “tobacco pipe” – hence his historical English name of Captain Pipe. – A Delaware chief, known to the whites as Captain Pipe, and after 1763 among his people as Konieschguanokee (Maker of Daylight).

An hereditary sachem of the Wolf division of the Delawares, he was war chief of the tribe. He was also prominent in council, having a reputation for wisdom and a remarkable gift of oratory.

In the French war he fought against the English with courage and skill. He was present at the conference with George Croghan at Ft Pitt in 1759, and in 1763 or 1764 tried to take the fort, but failed, and was captured.

After peace was concluded he settled with his clan on upper Muskingum River, Ohio, and in 1771 sent a “speech” to Gov. Penn.

He attended the councils of the tribe at the Turtle village and at Ft Pitt until the Revolutionary war broke out, when he accepted British pay and fought the Americans and the friendly Indians, but told the British commander at Detroit that he would not act savagely toward the whites, having no interest in the quarrel, save to procure subsistence for his people, and expecting that when the English made peace with the colonists the Indians would be punished for any excesses that they committed.

Col. William Crawford, however, in retaliation for the massacre of Moravian Indians by a party of white men, was put to torture when he fell into Captain Pipe’s hands near the upper Sandusky in May, 1782.

Pipe signed the treaty of Ft Pitt, Pennsylvania, September 17, 1778, the first treaty between the United States and the Indians. He was also a signer of the treaty of Ft McIntosh, Ohio, January 21, 1785, and the treaty of Ft Harmar, Ohio, January 9, 1789.

In 1780 he removed from his home on Walhonding Creek, at or near White Woman’s town, to old Upper Sandusky, or Cranestown, Ohio. Captain Pipe established his village, about 10 miles southeast of Upper Sandusky, on land that was ceded to the United States in 1829. He died in 1794.

Lappawinze (‘getting provisions’) – A Delaware chief who signed the treaty at Philadelphia in 1737, known as the “Walking Purchase,” confirming the treaty of 1686, which granted to the whites land extending from Neshaming Creek as far as a man could walk in a day and a half.

When the survey was made under this stipulation, the governor of Pennsylvania had a road built inland and employed a trained runner to run for a day and a half, a proceeding that the Delawares denounced as a fraud.

John Metoxen – A tribal sachem.

Carl Miller – A tribal leader who helped the Stockbridge-Munsee reorganize their tribal government and regain federal recognition in 1938. 

Neolin – Delaware Prophet

Chief Newcomer (Netawatwees, c. 1686–1776), founder the village of Gekelmukpechunk (Newcomerstown), Ohio in the 1760s.

Neswage – A Delaware chief who commanding a band of 23 warriors about 1841. He was attacked by the Sioux at a point just north of the present Adel, Dallas County, Iowa, while on their way to visit the Sauk and Foxes, then holding a war dance within the limits of the site of Des Moines.

The Delaware offered a brave defense, killing 26 of the Sioux before all but one of their own number fell. This survivor bore the news to the camp of the Sauk and Foxes, a short distance away, among whom were Keokuk and Pashapahs.

With 600 warriors they followed the Sioux, inflicting on them severe punishment. The body of Neswage was found after the raid,  lying by a tree, his tomahawk at his side and the bodies of four of his warriors immediately about him.

Netawatwees – A Delaware chief, born about 1677, died at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1776. Netawatwees was one of the signers of the treaty of Conestoga in 1718.

As he belonged to the important Unami, or Turtle division of the tribe, he became chief of this division according to usage and in consequence thereof head chief of the tribe. To him were committed all the tokens of contracts, such a wampum belts, obligatory writings, with the sign manual of William Penn and others down to the time, that he and his people were forced to leave Pennsylvania and retire to Ohio, where they settled on Cayuga River.

He failed to attend the treaty with Bouquet in 1763, and when this officer and Bradstreet with their troops approached his settlement he attempted to escape, but was captured and deposed from his chieftancy until the conclusion of peace, when he was reinstated by his tribe.

He became a convert to Christianity in his later years and urged other leaders to follow his example. On his death he was succeeded by White Eyes.

Oratam – Sachem of the Hackensack

William W. Park – Professor at Boston University School of Law.

John W. Quinney – A tribal leader, who wrote the tribal constitution in 1837, replacing hereditary sachems with elected tribal officials.

Shingas – Turkey clan war leader

Tamanend – Leader reported to have negotiated treaty with William Penn, and who Tammany Hall was named for

Tamaqua or King Bear – Turkey clan peace chief

Tammany (from Tamanend, ‘the affable.’) – The common form of the name of a noted ancient Delaware chief, written also Tamanee, Tamanen, Tamanend, Tamany, Tamened, Taming, Teinane. In the form of Tamanen his name appears as one of the signers of a deed to William Penn in 1683 for lands not far north from Philadelphia, within the present Bucks county, Pennsylvania

Chief Teedyuscung – Leader of the eastern Delawares

White Eyes (c. 1730–1778), Turtle clan peace chief who negotiated the Treaty of Fort Pitt.

Delaware / Lenape Tribes

Delaware of Six Nations (at Six Nations of the Grand River), Ontario, Canada (two reserves)
Delaware Tribe of Indians (Lenape) (Oklahoma) (F)
Delaware Nation (formerly Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma) (Oklahoma) (F)
Delaware-Muncie Tribe (U) (Kansas)
Delawares of Idaho, Inc. (U) (Idaho)
Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware (S)
Moravian of the Thames First Nation, Ontario, Canada
Munsee-Delaware Nation, Ontario, Canada
Munsee Thames River Delaware (U) (Colorado)
Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey (S)
Ramapough Lenape Nation (S) (New Jersey)
Stockbridge Munsee Community (F)
Thunder Mountain Lenape Nation (U) (Pennsylvania)

Some Lenape or Delaware live in communities known as Urban Indians in their historic homeland in a number of states such as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. New York City, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are known to have some Lenape residents.
Some Lenape live within the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Large communities of Lenape people live in the vicinities of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and Anadarko, Oklahoma.
A parcel of Lenape land remains near Cardington, Ohio, currently occupied by a trading post “TurkeyTown.” It is run by the Munsee Delaware Indian Nation.
Additionally, over a dozen unrecognized tribes claim Lenape descent. Unrecognized Lenape organizations in ColoradoIdaho and Kansas have petitioned the United States federal government for recognition.