HomepageEnvironmental StudiesCapstone Takes Important Step in Reconciliation Efforts with the Delaware Tribe of Indians

Capstone Takes Important Step in Reconciliation Efforts with the Delaware Tribe of Indians

Capstone students honor Statement of Mutual Intentions through collaboratively planting with the Delaware Tribe of Indians culturally important species.

Students in Dr. Hurley’s Sustainability in the Suburbs capstone class hosted representatives from the Delaware Tribe of Indians at the Food Forest on October 7th. Together, members of the Tribe and students planted mùxulhemënshi | tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipfera) and pakim | highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) at the site. In doing so, students honored a key element of the College’s Statement of Mutual Intentions with the Delaware (Lenape) people by both further representing the culture of the Lenape people on campus and in involving the Tribe in the management of the site. Planting Mùxulhemënshi, or the canoe-making tree, at the Food Forest came in response to the request of Tribal member Tristen Tucker. In welcoming this new species to the forest community, the Food Forest will serve as a future source of materials for the Lenape to maintain their canoe-making traditions. Likewise, students sought to honor the Lenape plant and namesake of the local watershed, or the Lenape rootword of the local Perkiomen Creek (or, where there are cranberries) by including pakim plants. This will allow us to grow another food that can be shared with the Tribe in the future. Prior to the arrival of our Lenape guests, students from capstone and ENV-100 planted 200 herbaceous plants, representing four culturally important species, that are important to local pollinators and bird populations, serving to further enhance the ability of the site to enact critical principles of biocultural and just conservation practice. We are grateful to Cultural Director Jeremy Johnson, Elder Annette Ketchum, Elder John Thomas, Tristen Tucker, Xavier Michael-Young, Michael Johnson, and Alicia Rezendes from the Delaware Tribe for their trust in us and for joining us on this next step of our journey.

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