Indian Nations
Indian Territory Archives



Welcome to the Delaware Tribe of the state of Oklahoma!

The English name Delaware was based on the river named for Lord de la Warr. In early colonial times, this river valley was the tribal center of an area that included present New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. The tribe call themselves Lena'pe or Leni-lena'pe, which is equivalent to "original people."

The Delaware tribe was first encountered by Europeans in 1620 living along the Delaware River in and around present-day Vernon, New Jersey, as well as in New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. By 1862, that had concentrated settlements in Pennsylvania where they signed the famous treaty with William Penn. And in 1778, the Delaware were the first Indian tribe to sign a treaty with the newly established United States.

By the 1770's, the tribe occupied the country between the the Ohio and White Rivers in Indiana. later in 1789, a band of Delaware crossed the Mississippi to escape the Indian wars in Ohio and settled in Spanish Territory (now the state of Missouri). Throughout the next 40 years, 13 treaties provided fo9r the removal of the Delaware from Missouri to a reservation between Kansas and Missouri state lines. Surrounded by intolerable conditions, the tribe requested to be moved, Indian Territory was suggested, and in 1812 they settled in Oklahoma.

By 1820, two bands had found their way to Texas, and in 1859, a group livifng along the Brazos River in Texas moved north with the Caddo and Wichita tribes to the Washita River. There they were allotted lands on the Wichita-Caddo reservation near Anadarko, Oklahoma. Today there are two groups of Delaware in Oklahoma.

One part of the tribe, known as Registered Delaware, came from their Kansas resservation in 1867 and settled with the Cherokee along the Caney River. Their descendants live in Washington, Craig, Nowata and Delaware counties. The other tribe, federally recognized as a seperate legal entity, was associated with the Caddo and Wichita tribes in West Texas and in 1859 came to the Washita River in Indian Territory. This group called themselves "the lost tribe" or "Absentee Delaware Tribe" and are known today as the Deleware Tribe of Western Oklahoma.

 Delaware Nation Archivist: Lola Withrow

Oklahoma State Archivist:  Gene Phillips

Linda Simpson-Indian Nations/Indian Territory Archivist 


If you have any cemetery records, bible records, deeds, applications for citizenship in the Iowa Nation, etc... please send them to  me as an attachment in an e-mail to Lola Withrow. Please be sure to identify that it is for the Delaware. It also needs to be a plain text file, no HTML and no images. This ensures that everybody will be able to read it, no matter what kind of web browser. Here is a help file.

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Updated 31 August 2009