Lenápe kinship system has matrilineal clans, that is, children belong to their mother’s clan, from which they gain social status and identity. The mother’s eldest brother was more significant as a mentor to the male children than was their father, who was generally of another clan. The clan was in other words composed of persons who laid claim to a common ancestor or ancestral event. Each clan was usually named after a totemic animal who was thought to be the progenitor or protector of that partical clan.
Hereditary leadership passed through the maternal line, and women elders could remove leaders of whom they disapproved.
Agricultural land was managed by women and allotted according to the subsistence needs of their extended families.
Families were matrilocal; newlywed couples would live with the bride’s family, where her mother and sisters could also assist her with her growing family.
Kinship was a fundamental concept in Lenape social organization. The nuclear family, husband, wife and three children, along with other relatives, was the basic social unit. The continuum of the clan rested in the maternal lineage. The members of every lineage knew their blood relatives by whom they were bound together by kinship ties.
Lenape had three phratries, each of which had ten or twelve clans.