Delaware Indian Tribe Clans

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     According to Morgan (Anc. Soc., 171, 1877) the Delawares have 3 clans (called by hirer gentes), or phratries, divided into 34 subclans, not including 2 subclans now extinct.
     These clans, which are the same among the Munsee and Mahican, are:
(1) Took-seat (’round paw,’ ‘wolf’ ).
(2) Pokekooungo (‘crawling,’ ‘turtle’).
(3) Pullaook (‘non-chewing,’ ‘turkey’).
     These clans-Wolf, Turtle, and Turkey-are commonly given as synonymous with Munsee, Unami, and Unalachtigo, the 3 divisions of the Delawares, exclusive of the New Jersey branch. According to Brinton they are not clans, but mere totemic emblems of the 3 geographic divisions above named. Of these the Unami held the hereditary chieftainship. The New Jersey branch probably formed a fourth division, but those bands broke up at an early period and became incorporated with the others. Many of them had originally removed from the west bank of Delaware river to escape the inroads of the Conestoga. The 3 clans as given by Morgan are treated under the better known geographic names. 
     The Took-seat, or Wolf clan, has the following 12 subdivisions:

(l) Maangreet (big feet) ;
(2) Weesowhetko (yellow tree);
(3) Pasakunamon (pulling corn);
(4) Weyarnihkato (care enterer, i. e. cave enterer?);
(5) Tooshwarkana (across the river);
(6) Olumane (vermilion);
(7) Punaryou (dog standing by fireside) ;
(8) Kwineekcha (long body);
(9) Moonhartarne (digging);
(10) Nonharmin (pulling up stream);
(11) Longushharkarto (brush log);
(12) Mawsootoh (bringing along).

     The Pokekooungo, or Turtle clan, has the following 10 subdivisions, 2 others being extinct:

(1) Okahoki (ruler);
(2) Takoongoto (high bank shore);
(3) Seeharongoto (drawing down hill);
(4) Oleharkarmekarto (elector);
(5) Maharolukti (brave);
(6) Tooshkipakwisi (green leaves) ;
(7) Tungulungsi (smallest turtle) ;
(8) Welunungsi (little turtle);
(9) Leekwinai (snapping turtle);
(10) Kwisaesekeesto (deer).

     The Pullaook, or Turkey clan, has the following 12 subdivisions:

(1) Moharala (big bird) ;
(2) Lelewayou (bird’s cry) ;
(3) Mookwungwahoki (eye pain) ;
(4) Mooharmowikarnu (scratch the path);
(5) Opinghoki (opossum ground);
(6) Muhhowekaken (old shin);
(7) Tongonaoto (drift log);
(8) Noolamarlarmo (living in water) ;
(9) Muhkrentharne (root digger) ;
(10) Muhkarmhukse (red face);
(11) Koowahoke (pine region);
(12) Oochukham (ground scratcher).

     The divisions of the Munsee, according to Ruttenber, were the
Minisink
Waoranec
Waranawonkong
Mamekoting
Wawarsink
Catskill
     He names among the Unami divisions the Navasink, Raritan, Hackensack, Aquackanonk, Tappan, and Haverstraw, all in north New Jersey, but there were others in Pennsylvania. Among the Unalachtigo divisions in Pennsylvania and Delaware were probably the Neshamini, Shackamaxon, Passayonk, Okahoki, Hickory Indians (?), and Nantuxets. The Gachwechnagechga, or Lehigh Indians, were probably of tile Unami division. Among the New Jersey bands not classified are the Yacomanshaghking, Kahansuk, Konekotay, Meletecunk, Matanakons, Eriwonec, Asomoche, Pompton (probably a Munsee division), Rancocas, Tirans, Siconesses (Chiconessex), Sewapoo (perhaps in Delaware), Kechemeche, Mosilian, Axion, Calcefar, Assunpink, Naraticon, and Manta (perhaps a Munsee division). The Nyack band, or village, in Rockland co., N. Y., may have belonged to the Unami. The Papagonk band and the Wysox probably belonged to the Munsee. See also Munsee, Unami, Unalachtigo.

The books presented are for their historical value only and are not the opinions of the Webmasters of the site.   Handbook of American Indians, 1906

Index of Tribes or Nations



MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 6 October 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/delaware-indian-tribe-clans.htm - Last updated on Oct 18th, 2013


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