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Drexel Library

Native American Heritage Month Resource Guide

Indigenous Peoples' Day Philly, Inc.

The mission of Indigenous Peoples' Day Philly, Inc. is to cultivate an active Native American/Indigenous presence in the city of Philadelphia through cultural, educational and community-building initiatives that uplift our Native traditions, creative economies, and histories. Since 2017, we produce an annual cultural festival and awareness campaign for “Indigenous Peoples Day” and since 2019 we celebrate this Native-American social justice movement at Shackamoxon (or known as Penn Treaty Park).

Indigenous Peoples of Philadelphia

Indigenous Peoples of Philadelphia via the American Library Association 

The story of the Indigenous peoples of Philadelphia begins in the long-ago time with the emergence of Turtle and the earth that formed on its back.  From this first earth, the first tree grew and so too did the first sprouts. These sprouts grew and grew and became First Man and First Woman and so the People first came to be. (Adapted from the first written emergence story of the Lenape 1679, as told by Lenape elder Tantaque, courtesy of Curtis Zunigha).

Prior to the first waves of colonization, the major Pennsylvania Indian tribes were the Lenape, Susquehannock, Shawnee, and Iroquois.

Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania

Lenape Nation Pennsylvania logo -- a turtle inside a red circle encompassed by a dream catcher Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the only state (commonwealth) in the Lenapehokink that has never recognized its indigenous peoples. Lenape nations in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Canada have been recognized by their respective federal governments. Lenape nations in New Jersey and Delaware have been recognized by their respective state governments. The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania is actively pursuing recognition by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the support of our many community friends and partners in Pennsylvania (and beyond). Our people work in Pennsylvania businesses, vote for Pennsylvania officials, protect Pennsylvania rivers and watersheds, and attend Pennsylvania schools, colleges, and universities. We directly call upon Pennsylvania officials to recognize the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania. 

Native American House Alliance

Native American House Alliance Inc. logo -- the Philly skyline in a circle encompassed by the figure of a turtle.Native American House Alliance, Inc. Goals:

  1. Foster and preserve Native American Culture, arts and crafts, spiritual growth through Native American teachings.
  2. Promote educational enhancement among the Native American Indian population in Philadelphia,  PA.
  3. Strive for the elimination of prejudice towards and within Native American communities and American communities.
  4. Inform and conduct programs about Native American history and culture.
  5. Aid in family services, housing, and employment.
  6. Serve as a voice to insist  and or demand that federal, state, and local services be made available to the Native American community.
  7. Promote social and economic development/empowerment services that promotes self-help among the Native American populations.
  8. Raise funds through campaigns, grants and or loans, and all lawful means and to receive, expend funds that especially effectuate the objectives of this membership alliance.
  9. Acquire real estate and equipment by purchase, or gifts, grants and bequests and hold, own, and accept such donations to build capacity of the organization.
  10. Create much needed Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Native American Commissions.
  11. Build an innovative nationally-focused Native American Cultural Center and Museum.
  12. To hold an annual NAHA powwow held in Philadelphia.
  13. To establish the first Commission on Indian Affairs in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Natives at Penn

Natives at Penn graphic logo with blue and white horse and sun.Formerly known as Six Directions, Natives at Penn is a student-run organization that creates awareness of Native/Indigenous culture and history, and enhances the visibility of Native/Indigenous students. Founded in 1994 by Desiree Martinez and strengthened by ley leaders like Bryan Brayboy, Sabrina Austin, Jaime Hale, Wendy Green, Vanessa Iyua, Megan Red Shirt Shaw, Talon Ducheneaux, Rosalis BadHorse and many others, the organization has created and nurtured a supportive community for Native/Indigenous students, staff, and alumni at the University of Pennsylvania, along with neighbors throughout the tri-state area.