Lenape clans

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.

These are:

Wolf, Tookseat
    • Big Feet, Mä an’greet
    • Yellow Tree, Weesowhet’ko
    • Pulling Corn, Päsakun’a’mon
    • Care Enterer, Weyarnih’käto
    • Across the River, Tooshwarka’ma
    • Vermillion, Olum’ane
    • Dog standing by fireside, Punar’you
    • Long Body, Kwineek’cha
    • Digging, Moonhartar’ne
    • Pulling up Stream, Nonhar’min
    • Brush Log, Longushharkar’to
    • Bringing Along, Mawsootoh
Turtle, Pokekooun’go
    • Ruler, Okaho’ki
    • High Bank Shore, Takoong’oto
    • Drawing Down Hill, Seeharong’oto
    • Elector, Oleharkarme’karto
    • Brave, Maharoluk’ti
    • Green Leaves, Tooshkipakwisi
    • Smallest Turtle, Tungulung’si
    • Little Turtle, Welungungsil
    • Snapping Turtle, Leekwinai’
    • Deer, Kwisaesekees’to
Turkey, Pulla’ook
    • Big Bird, Morharälä
    • Bird’s Cry, Lelewa’you
    • Eye Pain, Mookwungwaho’ki
    • Scratch the Path, Mooharmowikar’nu
    • Opossum Ground, Opingho’ki
    • Old Shin, Muhhowekä’ken
    • Drift Log, Tongonäoto
    • Living in Water, Noolamarlar’mo
    • Root Digger, Muhkrenthar’ne
    • Red Face, Murkarmhukse
    • Pine Region, Koowäho’ke
    • Ground Scratcher, Oockuk’ham

Carman, Alan, E. Footprints in Time: A History and Ethnology of The Lenape-Delaware Indian Culture.Trafford Publishing, 2013. ISBN 978-1-4669-0742-3.

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., ed. (1961). The American Heritage Book of Indians. American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. pp. 180–211. LCCN 61-14871

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