Indigenous History of Northeastern Pennsylvania

This theme focuses on the indigenous history of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The city of Scranton, situated along the Lackawanna River in the greater Susquehanna River watershed, occupies an important part of the Wyoming Valley.

Prior to European colonization, Northeast Pennsylvania offered ample space and resources for the Lenape, the People of the River Valleys, to make this area their home. 

Local lore in Scranton suggests that the Lenape did not make a permanent home in this region, but instead used it for migration, important meetings, and burying their dead. The Munsee (or Monsey) band of the Lenape made use of the region most frequently, and one area, Capouse Meadows in North Scranton, has been marked by a state historical marker.

The native presence in this region has been mostly neglected aside from key places named after the Lenape, such as Lackawanna (“stream that forks”) and Nay Aug (noisy water or roaring brook). Research and public programs will seek to recover and tell a truthful and authentic story that incorporates numerous perspectives.

Events & Activities  

Theme Events:

Exhibit: "Mapping Shinnecock: Sites and Portraits - Photographs by Jeremy Dennis"
Gallery visits available by appointment (masks required) through April 29, 2022. Please contact Gallery Director, Dr. Darlene Miller-Lanning at 570-941-4214 or

Friday, Apr. 1, 2022 - First Friday Exhibit: "Mapping Shinnecock: Sites and Portraits - Photographs by Jeremy Dennis"
Hope Horn Gallery open from 5 - 9 pm (301 Jefferson Ave, Scranton, PA 18510)

Monday, Mar. 28, 2022 - "Mapping Shinnecock: Exploring Indigenous Identity, Culture, and Assimilation"
Lecture featuring artist Jeremy Dennis at 5 pm via Zoom 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - "Murder and Mercy: A Colonial Encounter in the Susquehanna Valley"
Humanities Lecture and Discussion featuring 
Nicole Eustance, Ph.D., 5 pm, PNC Auditorium, Loyola Science Center 133, The University of Scranton   

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - "Removal and the Right to Remain in the United States"
Humanities Lecture and Discussion featuring Samantha Seeley, Ph.D., 5 pm Hinkleman Room, Albright Memorial Library, Scranton, PA

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022 at 7 pm- Forced Removal of the Lenape People: History and Homecoming 
A keynote talk with Curtis Zunigha, enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma and co-director and co-founder of the Lenape Center in New York. Now living & working in Lenapehoking, the Lenape ancestral homeland, Zunigha will share his experience and mission to heal the wounds of forced removal & colonization and his desire is to restore the circle of friendship, respect, and shared occupancy.

Humanities Resources 

WVIA's Erika Funke interviews Curtis Zunigha, enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma and co-director and co-founder of the Lenape Center in New York. 

WVIA news story and podcast interview with Curtis Zunigha, who presented “Forced Removal of the Lenape People: History and Homecoming” as part of The University of Scranton's NEH grant-supported “Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story” project

Donehoo, G. (1928) Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania 

Eustace, N. (2021). Covered with Night: A story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America.

Eustace, N. (2022, November 30). 300 Yeas Ago, There Was A Brutal Murder. We Could Learn From the Treaty That Followed. New York Times

Francis 4, L. (2019). Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga

Mann, C. (2006). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Mann, C. (2012). 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Newcomb, S. (2008). Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery

Seeley, S. (2021). Race, Removal, and the Right to Remain: Migration and the Making of the United States.

Schutt, A. (2007). People of the River Valleys: The Odyssey of the Delaware Indians   

Soderlund, J. (2014). Lenape Country: Delaware Valley Society Before William Penn

Lenape Talking Dictionary: The official dictionary of Lenape - the language of the Delaware Tribe.

The Story of Scranton, Lackawanna Historical Society

Link to Peter Burke’s LHS talk:  

Everhart Museum blog post: