Delaware - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. In aboriginal times the egalitarian Lenape generally, but not always, equated status with age.

Political Organization. The independent and highly fluid aboriginal bands became more politically united after 1750, with towns being named for individuals who were in effect chiefs.

Social Control. The Lenape have always avoided conflict: any situation that could produce stress is called kwulacan. Even in the face of changing economics and modern sedentary life-styles, Lenape withdraw from controversy and difficulties on any level.

Conflict. Withdrawal from problematical situations has characterized the Lenape since they were first described by Europeans. This encouraged the fissioning of social groups and a tendency to avoid acting as a single political entity. The history of the Lenape, as with some of their neighbors, has been a series of splits among groups, with each group or even family then operating as an independent unit. Such groups often fused with others in complex patterns that render the collective history of these people difficult to follow.

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