Contemporary Lenape artists offer their perspective on Lenape history

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David Haff, an artist who grew up in the greater Philadelphia region, is a member of the Cherokee and Delaware Tribe of Indians. He has adopted a Lenape word as a name: Ahchipaptunhe, meaning to talk strange.

Now based in Phoenix, Ahchipaptunhe identifies strongly with his Lenape heritage and incorporates it into his abstract works. But he had not personally encountered any historic Lenape objects. He presumed they didn’t exist.

“I grew up in the tri-state area, Lenapehoking, and I hardly would ever see any Lenape artifacts,” he said. “So when the Michener Museum said, ‘We have traditional Lenape artifacts and we want to show you,’ I was so ecstatic.”

“It sounds strange, but even looking at the pottery, I get shaky just being in the presence of these things,” he said. “I believed that they were lost.”

Beaded moccasins and a bandolier bag from the 19th century show how Lenape designers incorporated new materials and techniques from other cultures into their work. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

  • September 12, 2023
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