Transitions And Connections: Celebrating Nanticoke-Lenape Arts And Culture In New Jersey

A Day of Celebration! Lenapowsi: Nanticoke-Lenape Music, Dance and Craft
A Day of Celebration! Lenapowsi: Nanticoke-Lenape Music, Dance and Craft
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Millville - New Jersey - US


MILLVILLE, N.J. - Aug. 27, 2014 - PRLog -- MILLVILLE, NJ – Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Chief Mark “Quiet Hawk” Gould states, “There is no point in the survival of our people, if our traditions do not survive with it.”

Centuries ago there were several Lenape tribes residing in what is now the state of New Jersey. They were later called Delawares by the European settlers combining in this name all people who lived along the Delaware River. Native Americans call themselves Lenape, which means The People. During the second half of the 20th century the Lenape people began to re-claim their place in the cultural landscape of the region.

WheatonArts and the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey present, “Transitions and Connections: Celebrating Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Arts and Culture in South Jersey.” It is the fifth biennial Creative Community Connections project which was inaugurated in 2004. The project addresses the history and cultural heritage of New Jersey’s oldest and yet little-known Native American Community.

Education/Folklife Center Director, Dr. Iveta Pirgova, explains, “This project raises awareness of cultural heritage and to create a welcoming community setting for appreciating and sharing the folk and traditional arts of the region’s rich and diverse population. It reflects a commitment to programming that celebrates, educates and unites communities to promote tolerance and deep respect for artistic and cultural diversity.”

“I am an educator and all too often, students share with me that ‘all Indians live on reservations,’ or that ‘no Indians live in New Jersey anymore.’ Through projects like this one the stereotypes that have been embedded for generations will begin to fade away,” said Yajaira “Blue Lily” Johnson.

John “Smiling Thunderbear” Norwood states, “Our cultural heritage is more than arts and crafts, dance and song, ritual and ceremony…it is a way of thinking and perceiving the world around us, which – in turn – is expressed through the various aesthetic forms.”

Project coordinators are Dr. Iveta Pirgova and  Gail “Gentle Leaves” Gould from the Nanticoke-Lenni-Lenape Indians of NJ. The five-month project includes:

■ Through November 2, 2014. “Nanticoke-Lenape Story in Images and Artworks.” An exhibition at Tribal Headquarters in Bridgeton, NJ. The exhibition highlights the tribal history, arts and culture from the perspective of the Nanticoke-Lenape people and explores the influence of historical events on cultural identities over time, and the concepts of continuity and adaption in various historical contexts. The exhibition showcases archival documents, photo stories, artworks. Multi-media displays tell theLenape story.

■ Educational Programs: “Interviews in the Classroom” oral history program; fieldwork practicum for students; exhibition-related experiences for school groups; lectures; hands-on demonstrations; and professional development programs for educators.

■ September 20. A Day of Celebration! Lenapowsi: Nanticoke-Lenape Music, Dance and Craft at WheatonArts. Narrated dance presentations (pow wow and social) will take place in a traditional circle. Host Drum: Red Blanket Singers of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Special demonstrations in folk and traditional arts. Presentation of the various regalia. Storytelling will take place between dance demonstrations. Visitors will be invited to join the Friendship dance. Native American craft and food vendors will be on site.

■ October 17. “Nanticoke-Lenape Cultural Heritage in New Jersey” Conference at WheatonArts Education/Folklife Center. Presentations focus on preserving Nanticoke-Lenape cultural heritage in New Jersey. It is a special professional development opportunity for educators but is open to the public. Topics include historical transformations of the Nanticoke-Lenape traditions, adaptation of traditional art forms to the contemporary way of life, and preservation of the Nanticoke-Lenape cultural heritage in the multi-cultural context of the American society.

■ October 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. Nanticoke-Lenape Bone and Woodcarving demonstration with Richard Joseph at the WheatonArts Education/Folklife Center. This is a Wheaton Wide Open Weekend with free admission for all visitors (presented by PNC Arts Alive!).

■ December 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. Nanticoke-Lenape Wampum Making demonstration with John Norwood at the WheatonArts Education/Folklife Center. Nanticoke-Lenape Beadwork demonstration with Rachel Ridgway at Tribal Headquarters, Bridgeton, NJ. This is a Wheaton Wide Open Weekend with free admission for all visitors (presented by PNC Arts Alive!).

WheatonArts is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open Labor Day. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission: Adults $10.00, $9.00 Senior Adults and $7.00 Students. Children five and under are free. Free to shop and stroll except during outdoor special events. For more information about WheatonArts, call 856-825-6800 or 800-998-4552, or visit

WheatonArts strives to make exhibits, events and programs accessible to all visitors. Provide twoweeks notice for additional needs. Patrons with hearing and speech disabilities may contact WheatonArts through the New Jersey Relay Service (TRS) 800-852-7899 or by dialing 711.

Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Cultural Trust and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. WheatonArts receives general operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Division of Cultural Affairs in the New Jersey Department of State. Additional funding provided through a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.

Janet Peterson
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Location:Millville - New Jersey - United States
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