About the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape

Who we are

our history lives on

Our History

The history of our tribe in its homeland goes back over 10,000 years. We are the descendants of those Nanticoke and Lenape who remained, or returned, to our ancient homeland after many of our relatives suffered removals and forced migrations to the mid-western  United States or into Canada.

Our Government

Our Tribal Council consists of nine members duly elected by our tribal citizens. They are entrusted with the administration and preservation of our tribal resources and cultural functions.

Our Programs

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League & Tournaments

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Our HiStory

c. 8,000 B.C.


Our Lenape ancestors were those who inhabited New Jersey, Delaware, southern New York and eastern Pennsylvania at the time the Europeans came. We called ourselves “Lenni-Lenape,” which literally means “Men of Men”, but is translated to mean “Original People.”


European Contact

European settlers called the Lenape people “Delaware Indians.” Three main dialect clans, each made up of smaller independent but interrelated communities, extended from the northern part of our ancient homeland at the headwaters of the Delaware River down to the Delaware Bay. The Munsee (People of the Stony Country) lived in the north. The Unami (People Down River) and the Unalachtigo (People Who Live Near the Ocean) inhabited the central and southern areas of the homeland of the Lenni-Lenape.

Our Nanticoke ancestors, called the “Tidewater People,” dwelled along the Indian River in Southeastern Delaware, having migrated from the Nanticoke River of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Our Nanticoke ancestors were among the first of the Northeastern Indian Nations to resist European colonial intrusion into our homeland as early as the 1650’s.



A little known fact is that as early as 1704, our ancestors living in the Delmarva Peninsula, who had lived there for thousands of years, were restricted to the Chicone (Chiconi), Broad Creek and Indian River Reservations by the British colonial governments. Also, the first and only Indian Reservation in New Jersey, the Brotherton Reservation in Burlington County (1758-1802), which was intended to be a safe haven for some of our ancestors. All of these reservations failed to protect our people and were disbanded, leaving our ancestors to struggle to maintain what bits of our ancient homeland that they could.


Union with the Nanticoke

Nanticoke migration began in the 1600’s from the Eastern Shore of Maryland through Southeastern Delaware. By the 1800’s, many were living along the banks and tributaries of the Delaware River. As a result of this migration, Nanticoke people united with the Lenni-Lenape Indians who remained in New Jersey. It was difficult during those years to maintain community, but the Tribe persevered.

Tribal Government

Our Tribal Council Members

Executive Council

Chairman/Chief Urie Ridgeway

Co-Chairman Lew “Sonny” Pierce

Harry Jackson, Secretary

Tori Gould, Treasurer

Council at Large

Mel Pierce

Kevin Street, Sr. 

Charles Green, Jr.

Shery Caputo

Denise Dunkley


Tribal Committees