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Memorializing Native American and Lenape History Virtual Talk

June 2, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


In the last few years, the United States has entered another era of discussion and debate regarding things like monuments, place names, and vestiges of the past that dot the landscape of cities and towns from coast-to-coast. With the move of the Tamanend statue to a more central location in historic Philadelphia, it might appear that this is a time of resurgence for Lenape people. Almost 350 years after the fabled handshake between the Lenape and William Penn under an elm tree at the bank of the river, the Lenape are seeing a resurgence once more. But what does this move mean? What kind of future does it anticipate for both Lenape and non-Lenape people? In this talk Harvard Professor Morgan Ridgway will explore what efforts to memorialize Native American and Lenape history in particular might mean for Philadelphia. In a state that does not recognize the Lenape nation as a legitimate political entity, what is the role of preserving Indigenous history? What are the obligations or responsibilities for public historians in assuring that Lenape people have a past that is knowable to residents and visitors of the city but are not solely of the past? Beginning with a brief history of what has become the iconic representation of Lenape people, Ridgway wants us to consider how the image of the handshake and its implications (or desires) of peace have brought us to this current moment. Then, he wants us to think about what monuments invite us to imagine for the future and think through just some of the possibilities that might be on the horizon for Lenape people, for Native Americans more broadly, and residents of Philadelphia as a whole. This is an exploration of just one of the pathways that might be possible moving forward from this moment of historical reckoning and we hope in the time we have together we can further imagine what the future may look like; one that is perhaps more honest, ethical, and responsible.

FREE but registration is required.


June 2, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm