The Lenape Indian Way: A Local Learning Experience for Kids
By L.A. McMahon
From Issue 48: Winter 2021
No doubt local activities for kids in Gardiner are always of interest, but fun, physically-active AND educational activities are rare as hen’s teeth these days.
One such activity will occur on Tuesday, March 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Mohonk Preserve during spring break; children ages seven to ten years of age (with a parent) can join Education Coordinator Kim Tischler on a hike to a Native American encampment at the preserve and visit their longhouse at Spring Farm.
Kids will be able to imagine their way back in time and participate in skill-based, hands-on activities that Lenape youth practiced during the period of “European Contact.”
It was a time when the first Europeans to venture to America brought technologies, ideas, plants, and animals that were new to America and would transform peoples’ lives: guns, iron tools, and weapons; Christianity and Roman law; sugarcane and wheat; horses and cattle.
The Europeans also carried diseases against which the Indian peoples had no defenses. Gardiner resident Marc B. Fried is the author of several books on the subject. Prior to the pandemic, Fried gave talks at various venues at which he noted that, “only 100 years following Henry Hudson’s 1609 expedition, only 10 percent of the indigenous regional population survived.”
The Mohonk program of hands-on learning, crafts, and exercise is free, and will be 100% outdoors (Note that the Preserve is reinstituting limited public programs in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.)
The Preserve website cautions that the program is not appropriate for children younger than seven, and all children must always be accompanied by an adult.
The lore of the Indians that lived in the area is fascinating and, in addition to what can be learned at the Mohonk program, worth reading about. (The history behind the names of local towns, such as Esopus and Shawangunk is of particular interest).
Marc Fried’s books are a good place to start. They include, The Early History of Kingston & Ulster County, NY (Ulster County Historical Society, 1975), Tales From the Shawangunk Mountains (Adirondack Mountain Club, 1981), The Huckleberry Pickers: A Raucous History of the Shawangunk Mountains (Black Dome Press, 1996), Shawangunk: Adventure, Exploration, History and Epiphany from a Mountain Wilderness (North Country Books, 1998), and Shawangunk Place-names: Indian, Dutch and English Geographical Names of the Shawangunk Mountains (2005). The books are well-researched, utilizing local records and found documents, with rich characterizations of the eras in which they occurred. His books are available on Amazon, at some local book stores, and in the Gardiner Library.
Registration for the March 30th program at Mohonk is required, and limited to 10, including adults. Dress for the weather with warm boots. Masks are required.
To register, visit www.mohonkpreserve.org/events, or contact: Lauren Borer, firstname.lastname@example.org, (845) 255-0919 ext.1239.