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During the decades of the 18th century, most Lenape were pushed out of their homeland by expanding European colonies.Their dire situation was exacerbated by losses from intertribal conflicts.
The mother's eldest brother was more significant as a mentor to the male children than was their father, who was generally of another clan.The divisions and troubles of the American Revolutionary War and United States' independence pushed them farther west.In the 1860s, the United States government sent most Lenape remaining in the eastern United States to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma and surrounding territory) under the Indian removal policy.The German and English-speaking Moravian missionary John Heckewelder wrote: "The Monsey tong [sic] is quite different even though [it and Lenape] came out of one parent language." At the time of first European contact, a Lenape person would have identified primarily with his or her immediate family and clan, friends, and/or village unit; then with surrounding and familiar village units.Next with more distant neighbors who spoke the same dialect; and ultimately, with all those in the surrounding area who spoke mutually comprehensible languages, including the Nanticoke people, who lived to their south and west in present western Delaware and eastern Maryland, and the Munsee, who lived to their north.(For etymology of the surname, see Earl De La Warr§Etymology.) The English then began to call the Lenape the Delaware Indians because of where they lived.
Swedes also settled in the area, and early Swedish sources listed the Lenape as the Renappi.
Traditional Lenape lands, the Lenapehoking, was a large territory that encompassed the Delaware Valley of eastern Pennsylvania (especially the Poconos and New Jersey from the north bank Lehigh River along the left bank Delaware thence south into Delaware and the Delaware Bay.
Their lands also extended west from western Long Island and New York Bay, across the Lower Hudson Valley in New York into the lower Catskills and a sliver of the upper edge of the North Branch Susquehanna River.
As in the case of the Iroquois and Susquehannocks, the animosity of differences and competitions spanned many generations, and in general tribes with each of the different language groups became traditional enemies in the areas they'd meet.
On the other hand, The New American Book of Indians point out that competition, trade, and wary relations were far more common than outright warfare—but both larger societies had traditions of 'proving' (blooding) new (or young) warriors by 'counting coup' on raids into another tribes territories.
"Delaware Indians" and "Delaware people" redirect here.