Men removed all facial hair and the women often
coloured their faces with red ochre. Tattooing was common to both
sexes. Older men wore their hair long, but warriors usually had a
scalp lock greased so that it would stand erect. Although this
hairstyle is often called a 'Mohawk', it was common to most of the
Lenape sachems wore only a single eagle feather
and there was nothing that resembled the Sioux war bonnet. Clothing was
made from deerskin, and decorated with shell beads or porcupine quills,
feather mantels, and other ornaments.
The Lenape used a lot of copper which they obtained
from the western Great Lakes through trade. Hammered into ornaments,
it was also fashioned into pipes and arrowheads. By 1750 the Lenape
had become very stylish in their dress, favouring silver nose rings
and clothing decorated with bright cloth purchased from European
traders. There was no formal marriage ceremony, but the Lenape were
Religious ceremonies were centred around a dedicated
'big house'. Dreams were considered to be very significant, so Lenape
priests were divided into two classes: those who interpreted dreams
and divined the future; and those dedicated to healing.
The dead were buried in shallow graves, but the
methods used varied considerably: flexed, extended, individually,
and sometimes even in groups. The Lenape believed in an afterlife,
but without the Christian concept of heaven and hell - a source of
considerable frustration for Moravian missionaries.
Lenape were reluctant to tell strangers their real
name, and the use of nicknames was very common. The real name of
Captain Pipe, head of the Delaware Wolf clan in 1775 was
Konieschquanoheel, meaning 'maker of daylight'. His nickname,
however, was Hopocan, meaning 'tobacco pipe' - hence his historical
name of Captain Pipe.
The Lenape structure was broken down from the top
as shown in this diagram, which descends as far as