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About the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation

The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation is the northern most of three interrelated tribes of the area of the Delaware bay. We are made up of the American Indian families from Southern New Jersey, and the Delmarva peninsula who remained in our ancestral homeland after many of our relations were removed to the west and to the north as far as Oklahoma and Canada. 


The Lenni-Lenape (or simply "Lenape") are the ancient root of many other American Indian Nations. The Lenape homeland included all of New Jersy, Northern Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Southeastern New York. The Nanticoke are the people of the Delmarva between the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. Our tribal nation of Nanticoke and Lenape people are the result of the coalescing of the two interrelated tribes, beginning as far back as the 1600's. 


From the mid 1600s through the establishment of the United States, we shared our homeland with the Swedes and Finns, Dutch and British... but, always kept our tribal community alive and well. Throughout much of the 1800's and 1900's, our tribal governance continued as a self isolating family-clan style leadership operating in conjunction with our tribal churches. By the 1970's a new generation of leaders began to advocate for our people in a more open manor among the non-native public and government agencies, recognizing the tribe with an elected chief and council which no longer functions solely within the traditional tribal church.


Tribal Status

  • We are currently in a dispute with the State of New Jersey regarding the legal status of our recognition. 


  • Our Tribal Nation is acknowledged by the State of New Jersey through both concurrent legislative resolution and statues. By statute, our tribe has two permanent seats on the New Jersey commission on American Indian Affairs.

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  • We are a voting member nation of the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest political organization of American Indian tribes in the United States.


  • Our Tribal Nation is a charter member of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes (ACET), which is an inter-tribal league of sovereign American Indian Nations continuing from the colonial era of the eastern and southern seaboard of the continental United States. 

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  • We are members of the United League of Indigenous Nations, which is an international treaty organization of Indigenous sovereign nations working to promote indigenous rights and governmental development.


For more information visit www.nanticoke-lenapetribalnation.org