Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Lenape Living

  On Tuesday-26-March the Bogota Public Library hosted a lecture on the Lenni- Lenape Native American Nation which occupied the area in and around Bogota before the European settlers arrived. This was presented by Rob Aptaker who is an Educator and preserver of Native American stories. This is part of the Bogota Library and the Bogota 125th Anniversary Committee year long program to share the histories, and stories about living in Bogota through out the years.  
   Mr. Aptaker told about the origins of the Lenni-Lenape nation covered an area from the Southern shores of Delaware Bay North to the Mid- Hudson valley. It extended the West in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania to the North Shore of Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The Lenni-Lenape nation consisted of three distinct areas based on dialect. The area of the Hackensacks were Northern Unami speakers. North of them was  the Munsee dialect. While in Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania had Southern Unami speakers. Within these sections there were three major Clans. The Turtle Clan, Wolf Clan, and Turkey Clan. The Clans were different families that would live within a village or community. 
  As early as 8,000 bce humans lived in the lands of the Mid Atlantic States. In the years before European settlers Lenni-Lenape settlements began to occupy parts of the tri-state area. Mr. Aptaker explained how these settlements would be of seasonal use. Some areas would be used in the spring to plant and raise crops. Other area would have smaller shelters set up and be used for hunting. This would allow to separate the cultivated areas from those that would have wildlife to hunt for.  A third settlement would be occupied in the Winter months and consistent of long community structure where many families would stay together to share the heat, food, and safety in the colder months. Bogota is the location of two common trails used at this time. What are now River Rd was the North to South trail. And  Ft. Lee rd was the corridor to move East to West. 
   Mr. Aptaker had a number of artifacts, and replicas of common Lenni- Lenape items. They included baskets, and pots. Stone and bone tools, along with toys, hunting , and gaming equipment. He would hold different items up and explain there usage, or how they were made, which gave more insight on how these native American Tribes lived. Two items were used in fishing waterways such as the Hackensack River. One was a fishing pole with a basket attached to one end.  The netting of the basket was made from plant species that could be twisted into a fiber and was woven into the netting to catch fish. Another was a flat stone with two distinct notches which appear man made. This was a weight for large area nets to be tossed over the water. 
 Two other items were a oval “ball” and a Eastern lacrosse stick. Both of these were used for games. The ball game was to be play by the entire village to at the start of the planting season to show the Creator the energy and spirit of the tribe people towards their land and each other. This in-turn would lead the Creator to bestow bountiful harvest of the crops that were just planted. The Ball  game and the Lacrosse games would also help in showing the members of a village on how working as a team  could later be used for hunting, or protecting their citizens from others.
  In the 16th & 17th Centuries Dutch and English settlers came to this part of North America. Some looking for trade goods, other to acquire new lands.  By tradition Native America people would not “own” land but would live in set territories. If members of different areas want to use part of other territory, or simply pass through, gifts would be exchanged to the people living in that area. This was unknown to the Europeans and misinterpreted as the story of  “Manahata Island”  The Lenni-Lenape where accepting a tribute from the Dutch use of the land. The Europeans thought they were being sold ownership of it. As European expansion continued demand for fur increased with lead to over hunting and extinction of native animals. Beavers needed to be reintroduce in some parts of the East Coast. And diseases from Europe would also reduce the native population.
  Mr. Aptaker talked more about native customs ranging for dances to honour the game that was hunted, to stories about the origins of some native traditions.
  The next lecture of the Bogota Library’s 125th history series  will be on Tuesday-30-April and focus on the Hackensack River present by the Hackensack River Keepers. This schedule to start at 7:00p. It is free of charge and the public is invited to attend. 
  For more information, about the year-long celebration in 2019 please contact the 125th Anniversary Committee at: 125th

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