Before the urbanized landscape that characterizes Hudson County, New Jersey today, a vibrant culture thrived, living in harmony with nature. These were the Lenape, the area’s original inhabitants, whose enduring legacy still echoes throughout the county.
The Lenape, also known as the Delaware Indians, were the indigenous people residing in this region long before European settlers arrived. They distinguished themselves through their noble spirit, hospitality, and exceptional skills in craft. With attire featuring wampum beads and dyed porcupine quills, their wardrobe bore testament to their artistry and profound connection to the environment.
The Lenape community was closely-knit, with families residing in wigwams, dwellings constructed from locally sourced materials. Their tribal governance was simple, and their religious practices, which revolved around fire and sun worship, demonstrated a deep respect for the natural world.
Noted for their robust sense of justice, the Lenape were more peace-loving than neighboring tribes, a trait that marked them distinct among indigenous groups of the era.
While the Lenape people might no longer inhabit Hudson County, their roots run deep, their legacy enduring. Evidence of this lies in town names originating from the Algonquian language, spoken by the Lenape. Names like Secaucus, Weehawken, and Hoboken serve as a lasting tribute to the county’s indigenous history.
Hudson County’s past is deeply interwoven with the story of the Lenape people. Their spirit, values, and lifestyle have left a permanent imprint on the region, shaping its unique identity and culture. As we delve deeper into Hudson County’s hidden history, we pay homage to the Lenape, recognizing their invaluable contribution to the county’s rich heritage.