The Importance of Acknowledging our History: The National Archives and Federal Records Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This post is another in my ongoing blog series that acknowledges the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated across the country. This series of acknowledgements is a simple way to offer our recognition and respect to the people  who once lived on these lands.

The National Archives at Philadelphia and Philadelphia Federal Records Center is located in Philadelphia, PA, which is situated on the ancestral lands of Lenape, also known as the Lenni-Lenape or Delaware Indians.

Statue of Chief Tamenend, Philadelphia from Association for Public Art

“In the city of Philadelphia stands a statue of Chief Tamanend, a revered leader among the Lenape, who signed many treaties with William Penn. The history of the Lenape is truly the history of Pennsylvania.” from Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania.

2021 photographs provided by Grace Schultz, Archivist, National Archives at Philadelphia

In the 1680’s the Lenape negotiated with William Penn to facilitate his founding of the Colony of Pennsylvania. By the time of the War for Independence, the Lenape had been forced from their homelands into what was western Pennsylvania. On September 17, 1778, they signed a treaty, a military alliance, with the United States to allow for troops movements and fort construction in our fight with the British, a ratified treaty that today is in our holdings: Ratified Indian Treaty 8: Delaware – Fort Pitt, September 17, 1778.

By the time this map was printed in 1771, the  Lenape had been forced northwest of Philadelphia, their nation noted here as the Delaware. 

Enter your address in this interactive map of Traditional Native Lands to see who once lived where you are now.

My thanks to Patrick Connelly, Director of Archival Operations and Grace Schultz, Archivist (both from the National Archives at Philadelphia) and Cody White, Research Services Subject Matter Expert for Native American Related Records, for the research and information they provided for this post. 

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