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).
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.
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.
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.