For thousands of years, before the European settlers arrived in New Jersey, the Lenape Indians lived in these forests, hunting for deer and bear, living in handmade wigwams, fashioning dugout canoes from tulip poplar trees, and carving their tools out of rock and bone. They lived close to the land, existing in balance with nature.
The Lenape are not a thing of the past, but a part of NJ’s heritage that is alive and well today. Take part in a Lenape Celebration at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in Chatham Township, on Sat., Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to
4 p.m., bring the entire family to meet the members of the Ramapough Lenape Tribe. Tribe-members present a traditional drum circle, dancers in regalia, and demonstrate real tools and artifacts.
“The Lenape Day celebration at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center provides an authentic experience for both the Lenape and visitors,” Jenny Gaus Myers, superintendent of Environmental Education at the Morris County Park Commission stated.
“Festivities take place in the woods, surrounding a replica wigwam, which delivers a historically accurate depiction of Lenape life,” he says. “The environment of the Great Swamp makes Lenape Day a favorite of the Lenape Indians, and a memorable and fun day for all visitors.”
Gather around a wigwam replica in the forest and to hear authentic, historical stories told by present day Native Americans. Enjoy many hands-on activities, such as molding a clay pot by the fire, making fire without matches, and playing the games that Lenape children played to hone their skills.
Take a guided walk on the wooded trails to discover how the Lenape used local plants to meet their needs, or explore the interior of the wigwam, set up as it would have been hundreds of years ago.
Admission $5 ages three and up. Held rain or shine.
For more information and directions to the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in Chatham Township, visitmorrisparks.net or call 973-635-6629.