top of page
Art Exhibit and Manahatta

I learned a lot from the play and art exhibit. Prior to this trip, I had never even heard of the Lenape People or the history of how Manhattan came to be. During the play, something I found quite interesting were linguistics.. The Lenape had their own language, but it was snuffed out as they kept getting pushed farther and farther away from Manahatta (what is now Manhattan) until they reached Oklahoma. However, the Lenape didn’t simply “lose” their language because they were pushed from their homeland, but because they weren’t allowed to speak it. They’d be beaten if they spoke Lenape and children were taken from their parents so they couldn’t learn their culture or language. Something the play put a lot of emphasis on was how the Lenape didn’t understand the term “own.” The Lenape understood the concept of living in an area, but not owning it. Owning something, along with other terms, was something the European Colonies spoke of. Regardless of the language barrier the Lenape were deceived. When a deal was struck, the Lenape thought they'd be sharing and trading on the land of Manahhatta, but supposedly the Dutch thought the Lenape were trading their land- as in the Dutch would own the land Manahhatta. 

A piece of art I found interesting was a blanket called the “Eye-Dazzler Blanket.” It conveys the theme “ generations,” which highlights artists’ roles as teachers, intellectuals, and innovators in the transmission of artistic forms and traditions from one generation to the next. It takes a lot of skill to weave something so precise and remarkable; the skill cannot be learned in one lifetime. But there can also be many different versions of one art, in this case weaving. This is mostly due to the fact that over time different things influence art, whether it be surroundings, people, etc. This specific blanket came to be through artistic exchange with surrounding Hispanic communities and weavers. In Diné oral history, loom weaving is said to be a gift passed down from Spiderwoman. She taught the first Diné woman how to weave, and the practice got passed down through generations. Over generations the weavers would learn and adapt old traditions, leading to much diversity in weaving.

bottom of page