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Park Commission Press Releases

Celebrate Lenape Day at the Great Swamp
MORRISTOWN, NJ – Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 12 from 12 Noon to 4 p.m. to spend a fun-filled afternoon learning about the history and culture of the native people of New Jersey. Over 500 people attend this annual event at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in Chatham Township. Bring the entire family to meet members of the Ramapough Lenape Indians and watch as they present a traditional drum circle, dances in regalia, and showcases authentic tools and artifacts from hundreds of years ago. Listen to a historical speaker and storyteller, all gathered around a model wigwam in the forest. Everyone can enjoy activities and crafts, such as molding a clay pot by the fire, making a fire without matches, and playing the real games that Lenape children played to hone their skills. Take a guided walk on the wooded trails to discover how the Lenape used local plants, or explore the interior of the wigwam, set up as it would have been hundreds of years ago.

For thousands of years before the pioneers arrived in New Jersey, the Lenape Indians lived in these forests, hunting deer and bear, living in wigwams, fashioning dugout canoes from tulip poplar trees, and crafting their tools out of rock and bone. They lived close to the lands, existing in balance with nature. Many people mistakenly believe that the Lenape no longer exist, but at this unique event you can meet present-day Native Americans of the Ramapough Lenape and discover how their lives have changed over hundreds of years.

Every elementary school child in the New Jersey studies the Lenape, but this event offers a once in a lifetime educational experience that simply can’t be matched in the classroom. Come to the Great Swamp’s Lenape Day Celebration and get a true sense of what life was like for the native people of this area hundreds of years ago. Admission is $5 per person ages 3 and up. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase. For more information, please call 973.635.6629. The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center is a facility of the Morris County Park Commission and located at 247 Southern Boulevard in Chatham.

For more information, please call 973.635.6629.

Morris County Park Commission, is one of the region’s best park systems in the state of New Jersey, currently protects and maintains 18,600 acres at 38 distinct sites and a year-round calendar of events and activities.