The Lenni-Lenape Indians

The first people to live in the Mount Laurel area were the Lenni Lenape Indians. Their territory was the Delaware River Basin which is now southeastern New York, eastern Pennyslvania and most of Delaware and New Jersey. The word Lenape (len-ah-pee) means "original people".

Go to the Delaware Indian Website

Map of Lenni-Lenape Area


The Lenape Indians lived in bark houses called wigwams. The frame was made by bending branches to form a dome shape. These branches were tied together with vines or leather thongs. The wigwam was then covered by bark or hides. There was a hole at the top to let out smoke from the small fireplace inside.
Click here to view a modern day wigwam being built!
Click to see a longhouse

 The inside of the wigwam was very plain. There was a warm hide of some kind to cover the dirt floor. Other hides were used for sitting or sleeping. Sometimes a small frame raised from the floor was used for sleeping also.

Inside wigwam

Raccoon skin

Men and boys hunted deer, wolves, raccoons, rabbits, bear, turkeys and pheasants. They were in charge of butchering, skinning and getting the animals they had killed ready for cooking. The Lenni Lenape used every part of the animals they had killed.
Women, girls and young boys farmed and gathered nuts and berries and fished for clams, crabs, oysters and fish. The women and older girls did the cooking, often making a stew from the foods they had found.

Grains & seeds

Tools used by the Lenapes

 Stone, wood and bones were used by the Lenapes to make tools.
 The Lenape used beads and shells for decorations and wampum. The strands of beads often told stories. The shells were collected when the Lenape traveled along foot trails through Burlington pine forests to get to the ocean. These same foot trails later became the major highways on which we drive to get to the shore.

Shell necklace

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Kristen Vassos 4/10/10