A Cleansing Welcome to the Mahicannituck

Monday 4 September was a special day for the Foundation, as Lewis and the swim team were welcomed into Lenape territory by Chief Vincent Mann and members of the Lenape Ramapough Turtle Clan.

The Lenape are the original inhabitants of much of what is now New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Delaware, including all of the Lower Hudson Valley.

The ceremony took place at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston.

After a ritual smudging (smoke cleanse) and some words of welcome from the Chief, Lewis joined the drum circle. Gifts were exchanged, and Lewis was honoured with a peace pipe, symbolising the peaceful connection between all living beings, and respect for the earth as the foundation that supports us all.

Watch the video below for highlights of the ceremony, and an important message about indigenous voices, which should flow like rivers from all parts of the world to carry their message of peaceful cooperation.

UPDATE: Following on from the Kingston Ceremony, on 17 September we gathered for an evening with Chief Vincent Mann and Lenape elders at Liberty State Park, New Jersey. The event, 'The Way of the Ramapough: An Evening of Our Region's Native History and Culture', was convened by the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. After a press conference and addresses from both Lewis and Chief Mann, as well as  historical context on the history of colonialism from Rutgers/Price Institute's Dr Jack Tchen, a screening of a  short documentary ‘The Way of the Ramapough’ was scheduled. The weather had other plans, however, and heavy rain made an outdoor screening impractical – but you can still watch the documentary here to learn more about the rich history and continuing struggles faced by the Lenape Ramapough Nation.

Images from the evening of 17 September courtesy of @ Taylor McFarland Photography.

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