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Curators' Message

Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania tells the long-hidden story of the survival of the Lenape in their homelands. For centuries, the Lenape families who remained in Pennsylvania hid their identities, fearing the persecutions suffered by their contemporaries in the American Indian community would be visited upon them. Fulfilling a Prophecy is a story of the endurance of culture, and the faith of a people waiting for a better time, for the Time of the Fourth Crow.

The time is now.

For the first time, members of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania have offered to share their family histories with you, and with the public at large. With the help of their oral histories, family heirlooms, and photographs, we have created the first history of the Lenape people who stayed in Pennsylvania. Our exhibit also draws from conventional historical sources, archaeology and ethnographic research. Fulfilling a Prophecy relates the unique history of the Lenape people's struggle to survive. Yet, it also presents an unknown chapter of the common history of each and every person from this land, a land that was once called Lenapehocking.

We conceived of this exhibit as an educational tool, for Lenape and non-Lenape people alike. We deliberately organized the exhibition in a way that acknowledges and respects both Western and Native American approaches to learning and storytelling. Perhaps the most obvious examples of this approach in action are our choices to use "The Prophecy of the Fourth Crow" to frame our timeline and the inclusion of the Lenape terms for artifacts or concepts wherever possible. For the people of the Pennsylvania area, the exhibit provides an exciting reintroduction to their Lenape neighbors and an opportunity to learn about a missing chapter in Pennsylvania history. For the Lenape people, especially for Lenape children, we hope this exhibit will both educate and empower them to take pride in their identities.

--Chief Robert Red Hawk Ruth, Shelley DePaul, and Abigail Seldin

Brook L. DePaul
July 27, 1996 - July 17, 2008

A wonderful young lady and a member of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, Brook was raised by her grandmother Shelley DePaul. Fascinated by herbs and their traditional use by her people, Brook collected all of the plants displayed in this exhibition. Brook also studied the Lenape language daily with her grandmother. We dedicate this exhibit to the memory of Brook DePaul, and to all Lenape children.

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