“Our ancestors are still here, their footsteps are still here, their voices are still here, and I want to thank you for being here for us and for them.”
During a reception to mark the opening of a new permanent exhibit at the Pike County Historical Society, Larry Heady of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, based in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, addressed local residents gathered on the steps of the Columns Museum on the evening of Oct. 6.
The exhibit, “The Lënape, Original People Reconciling The Past, Embracing The Future,” tells the story of the Indians native to our region and the diaspora that took them far from their homelands in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It includes the obelisk for Tom Quick that once stood in Milford Borough and explains the story and controversy behind it.
Bonney Hartley, of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community based in Bowler, Wisconsin, began her remarks in the Lenape language to honor and acknowledge her ancestors. She spoke of the importance of the exhibit, especially for the school children that will come through, and who “will be able to learn about our history and who we are today, and know that the Lenape people are still here and still engaged in our homeland.”
She continued, “It really respects what our ancestors have painfully endured but also celebrates our continued existence and resiliency.”
Daniel StrongWalker Thomas, the Traditional Chief of the Delaware Nation based in Anadarko, Oklahoma, said he appreciated the friendship that has been forged. Referring to the land Pike County residents enjoy today, he said, “As you admire this beauty, remember us and keep us in your hearts.”
Lenape and Quicks meet in friendship
The exhibit was created from a partnership between three Lenape tribes, the Quick family, Milford Borough and the Pike County Historical Society. The Columns Museum Curator, Lori Strelecki, thanked the Greater Pike Community Foundation for their financial support and Mayor Sean Strub for his help with the project over several years.
Mayor Strub in his remarks said, “This has been, for me, a profoundly meaningful process, and I’m grateful to every one of the partners, especially the tribes, who made such a leap of faith to work with us, patiently educating us, and ultimately inspiring us to be better.”
Strub gave a nod to Don Quick, who has been involved in the project and participated earlier that day in a proclamation ceremony on Sarah Street, where the Quick monument once stood.
“Don, representing the Quick family, and the Delaware nation literally buried a hatchet...next to the remains of Tom Quick,” said Strub.
He said he hopes the new friendship between the Lenape and Milford will continue well into the future.
The Columns Museum at the Pike County Historical Society is open Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. It is located at 608 Broad Street, Milford.
Related stories from our archives:
Tom Quick: First came the legend, then the propaganda
Lenape descendant confident new restitution suit will succeed
tors are still here, their footsteps are still here, their voices are still here, and I want to thank you for being here for us and for them.” Larry Heady, Delaware Tribe of Indians