University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Peyote Feather Fan

Peyote eagle feather fan collected from Wi·tapano'xwe. Photo courtesy of the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number 70-9-480.

By: Margaret Bruchac

One Fan’s Long and Winding Road to the Penn Museum Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Monica Fenton This peyote fan (object number 70-9-480) was once in the possession of a Delaware (also called Lenni Lenape or Lenape) medicine man from Oklahoma, variously named James C. Webber, War Eagle, and Wi·tapano’xwe (which translates to […]

The Speck Connection: Recovering Histories of Indigenous Objects

Frank Speck in his office in College Hall, University of Pennsylvania, c. 1930.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Frank Gouldsmith Speck (1881–1950), acknowledged as one of the most prolific anthropologists of the early 20th century, served as chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly four decades (1913–1949). He conducted ground-breaking ethnographic research, working closely with Indigenous informants from a wide range of communities (Cherokee, Haudenosaunee, Mohegan, Nanticoke, […]

Lenape Powder Charger [Object of the Day #33]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

This Lenape Powder Charger is carved from an antler. The bottom is formed into a rattlesnake tail while the top depicts Misinghali’kun, the hunting god. The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania is a community of more than 300 people of Lenape descent who live mainly in southeastern Pennsylvania, primarily around Easton, Philadelphia and the Pocono Mountains. Unlike […]

19th Century Cayuga Lacrosse Bats [Object of the Day #5]

Lacrosse Bats

By: Amy Ellsworth

The game of lacrosse originated among native North American peoples, where its symbolism reveals its affinity with warfare and highlights the relationship between game and battle. For the Iroquois, the game’s sacred associations are linked to the seven Thunder Gods whose powers support both war and healing. Today lacrosse is stilled played in some communities […]

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