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“First People of the First State”: Programs featuring the Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware throughout September 2018

Written on: August 21st, 2018 in Events Museums News Uncategorized

Updated: Sept. 12, 2018

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware and the Dover Public Library, will be sponsoring “First People of the First State,” a series of 11 Lenapé-themed programs taking place during September 2018 at three locations in downtown Dover, Del. A full schedule is listed below. All programs are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5054.

Lenapé fancy dancer. The Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware will be celebrating its heritage with dancing and demonstrations on Sept. 1, 2018.

Lenapé fancy dancer. The Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware will be celebrating its heritage with dancing and demonstrations on Sept. 1, 2018.

Commenting on the Lenapé people’s more than 12,000-year presence in Delaware, Nena Todd, site supervisor for the division’s downtown Dover museums, noted that, “despite the struggles and hardships that they have experienced in recent centuries, the Lenapé people continue to persevere, prosper and preserve their cultural heritage—and to generously share it with their fellow Delawareans.” In keeping with this tradition, the tribe has partnered with the division to sponsor Native-American-themed programming each September since 2012.

Highlights of the 2018 “First People of the First State” series include “A Lenapé Celebration of Heritage” which will take place between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 at The Old State House located at 25 The Green. During the day’s activities, tribal members will celebrate mother earth and their culture with dancing, demonstrations and a “grand entry” at Noon.

On Saturday, Sept. 1 and Monday, Sept. 3, the Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St., will present “American Indian Melodies and the Victor Talking Machine Company,” a program that explores early-20th century Victor recordings of Native American music. During the program, site-interpreter Valerie Kauffman and featured guest—American Indian flutist Boe Harris—will explore what was called the “unique American sound” during the Indianist Movement of the 1880s through the 1920s. Visitors will have an opportunity to listen to some of these compositions on original 78-rpm recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. In addition, Harris will perform Indian melodies and audience members will be provided with traditional instruments to play along in an impromptu “Indian melodies jam session.” Programs will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both days.

Native-American flutist Boe Harris will perform at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Sept. 1 and 3, 2018.

Native-American flutist Boe Harris will perform at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Sept. 1 and 3, 2018.

Finally, on Friday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., the Dover Public Library, located at 36 Loockerman Plaza, will host “Native American Arts” in which members of the Lenapé Tribe will demonstrate drumming and dancing, and share the art of bead working.

Funding for the 2018 “First People of the First State” series is provided, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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“First People of the First State”
September 2018

Schedule as of Aug. 21, 2018

Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘A Lenapé Celebration of Heritage.’ ” Eighth annual celebration featuring the Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware as they honor mother earth and Native-American culture with dancing and demonstrations. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Programs 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Grand entry at Noon. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 1 and Monday, Sept. 3, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘American Indian Melodies and the Victor Talking Machine Company.’ ” Site interpreter Valerie Kauffman and American Indian flutist Boe Harris explore early-20th-century Victor Talking Machine Company recordings of compositions based on, or inspired by, Native American music, accompanied by 78-rpm recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. In addition, Harris will perform Indian melodies and audience members will be provided with traditional instruments to play along in an impromptu “Indian melodies jam session.” Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Programs at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Monday, Sept. 3, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘The Long Road to Recognition: New Avenues.’ ” Elected Chief Dennis Coker will discuss the long process that led to the Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware’s official status as a state-recognized Indian community and what that means for Delaware’s citizens today. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘Archaeology in Delaware and the First People.’ ” Program by John P. McCarthy, RPA, cultural preservation specialist for Delaware State Parks, provides information on archaeological sites in Delaware that have revealed stunning information about the lives of Delaware’s first people. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018
CANCELLED: “The First People of the First State: ‘Deciphering American Indian DNA.’ ” Program explores the implications of DNA testing from a Native American perspective. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. Note: Due to Hurricane-Florence-related cancellations by panelists who would have been traveling from the Carolinas, this program has been cancelled.

Friday, Sept. 21, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘Native American Arts.’ ” Join the Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware as they demonstrate drumming and dancing, and share the art of bead working. Partnership between the Dover Public Library and the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover. 6 p.m. 302-736-7030.

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘American Indian Women Today.’ ” American Indian women, including author Kay Oxendine of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, will speak about traditional roles and how those roles have become pertinent in today’s #METOO society. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘Bloomsbury and the Survival of the Lenapé People.’ ” Join archeologist and ethnographer Dr. Cara Blume as she examines the significance of the Bloomsbury archaeological site which gave proof of identity and the continued existence of the Lenapé people in Delaware. Partnership between the Dover Public Library and the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover. 6 p.m. 302-736-7030.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018
“The First People of the First State: ‘Growing Up Lenapé in Delaware: Lenapé Women Speak.’ ” Tribal citizens speak about their experiences with American Indian identity before and after desegregation. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.


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