The Lenape Center

Seed Leaders: Joe Baker, Hadrien Coumans, Curtis Zunigha, Brent Michael Davids

About The Lenape Center from Joe Baker:

Continuing Lenapehoking, the Lenape Homeland

Lenapehoking is the Lenape name for Lenape land, which spans from Western Connecticut to Eastern Pennsylvania, and the Hudson Valley to Delaware, with Manhattan at its center. Due to centuries of colonialism perpetuated by genocide, forced displacement, and systemic oppression, today the Lenape diaspora is dispersed throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Lenape diaspora includes five federally recognized nations in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Ontario.

The Lenape Center takes part in the maintenance and welfare of the people at this time. Lenapehoking stands today as before: strong, resilient and enduring.

2020 Seed Reconciliation: Corn and Beans

From Seedshed:

Over the last five years we have been learning about what it means to offer acknowledgement to the land. Land acknowledgements, which have become more common at the beginning of conferences, on plaques at universities, and by individual land-holding businesses, can be powerful reminders of whose land we stand on, or they can be empty gestures for optics rather than changing consciousness and making reparations. 

Seedshed first learned about The Lenape Center and their work through a program called “Of This Land” which was a workshop on living land acknowledgements at the Brooklyn Museum in 2019. Through commissioned opera, art, and public symposiums, the Lenape Center brings not only the history of the people of this region into the forefront, but also provides a living presence and strong voice that the people of Lenapehoking are still here.

Seed Partnership Goals:

Finding ways to share the land, and rematriate seeds, is just one step in responsible land acknowledgement and seed justice. This partnership recognizes and honors the 21st century living culture of the Lenape who lived, farmed, and thrived here in the Hudson Valley. Seedshed supports The Lenape Center in strengthening their resilience through redistributing the original seeds of the people across Lenapehoking. All of the seeds grown under the leadership of Joe and Hadrien will be rematriated to the hands of the Lenape people.

Seed Cycles:

This year we are growing four varieties. Because of limited amounts of seeds, these plots are what we call “seed increases”. That means that no seeds (or very few since it can be hard to resist tasting a little) will be used for food. Instead, all of the seeds collected will be used to share with Lenape farmers and gardeners so that they can continue to increase the availability of the seed and grow towards cultural seed sovereignty. We would like to thank the people from seed companies, USDA, and private seed collections who shared this seed to begin the process of seed rematriation.

Varieties grown in 2020:

Sassapsung Corn

Purple Kingsessing Bean

Hannah Freeman Bean

Blue Shackamaxon Bean

The Lenape Center in the media:

Urban Omnibus: Home in Lenapehoking