The Confederation

The Confederation of Sovereign Nanticoke – Lenape Tribes

An Introduction and Explanation


The Confederation of Sovereign Nanticoke – Lenape Tribes is an alliance of historically and genealogically interrelated tribes of the Delaware Bay area, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation of New Jersey and the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware.   The Confederation is chartered to to promote the common good of our people, govern ourselves under our own laws, protect and maintain our tribal culture and preserve the legacy of our ancestors. Member tribes benefit from collaboration and cooperation on issues of tribal governance, coordination with local, state, and federal government, ensuring representation in national and international venues, and providing a collective voice in matters concerning Indian Country. While the confederation council consists of the elected tribal councils of the member tribes, voting is restricted to the principal and secondary chiefs of each tribe, with the chairmanship rotating annually between the principal chiefs. The structure ensures that none of the member tribes may dominate the others. Confederation Council deliberations are aimed at the forming of consensus on any decision. While the Confederation supports initiatives to expand tribal economic development, member tribes have pledged to maintain a ban on profiting from vice and will not participate in casino gaming.

While tribal governance had survived through an informal family-clan style leadership structure preserved through tribal congregations for over 150 years, the twentieth century saw a movement toward a more activist governance independent from the churches and denominational influence. The tribal communities established charitable service organizations in order to better serve tribal members. Member tribes have further evolved the structure of their individual governments to better reflect the relationship between the historical tribal leadership and various operational subsidiaries. This has been done through the ratification of tribal governing documents, which formally establish powers of government, delineate the protected rights of individual tribal citizens, and define the scope of tribal authority in a manner consistent with tribal cultural traditions and values.

To better educate the public to the continuing history and culture of our tribal communities, was established as an online museum and learning center to share the history of the three Confederated Tribes. The expanding museum shares and preserves our culture and history, while also speaking to some of the concerns of the Confederated Tribes.

Each member tribe maintains its own independent sovereign government together with the sovereignty of the overarching Confederation. The Confederation cannot interfere in the matters of the individual member tribes. The Confederation is an intertribal alliance for mutual support and advocacy. The Confederation acts to affirm and support its member tribes with the spiritual charge to prayerfully consider the legacy we have received from the last seven generations and the legacy we shall leave for the next seven generations of our people.

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