Brooklyn Public Library and The Lenape Center Announce Programming Series and Anthology Accompanying "Lenapehoking," the First Lenape-Curated Exhibition in New York
Featuring opportunities for virtual and in-person engagement with an array of Indigenous scholars, activists, composers, and artists including Gloria Steinem, Sam Van Aken, Joe Baker, and others
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) and The Lenape Center announced today a series of programs and a forthcoming anthology of Indigenous scholarship to accompany the first-ever Lenape-curated exhibition in New York, Lenapehoking. The exhibition tells the story of the vast and vibrant Lenape community through a series of objects spanning multiple centuries. Featuring poetry readings, artist talks, and panel discussions, the program series is the latest event in an ongoing reckoning around Indigenous rights and historical revisionism of the Lenape, the first inhabitants of the greater New York region.
“From conversations with thought leaders and activists like Gloria Steinem on critical social issues to poetry readings by Indigenous multihyphenate Rebecca Haff Lowry, this program series highlights the value of community partnership,” said László Jakab Orsós, Vice President of Arts and Culture of Brooklyn Public Library. “BPL is constantly expanding on the idea of what a library can be to a community and, and through collaborations like this one we are able to showcase diverse voices from every corner of the borough.”
A series of panel discussions, both in-person and online, focus on some of the most critical issues concerning Indigenous communities. On Monday, March 14, Gloria Steinem and Nichusak (“my women friends”), a working group of activists and lawyers including Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, associate professor of clinical law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Caroline LaPorte associate judge at the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, discuss the missing and murdered Indigenous Persons crisis. Indigenous lawyer and playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle joins the Lenape Center’s Joe Baker and Co-Founder and Co-Director Hadrien Coumans to discuss the long-held and false narrative of the purchase of Manhattan on Thursday, March 24.
In tandem with the exhibition, BPL is publishing a forthcoming anthology of original Indigenous scholarship, building on the panel discussion series and the work currently on display at the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center. Highlights include essays by Lenape Center leadership such as Joe Baker, Hadrien Coumans, and Curtis Zunigha, in addition to poetry by Rebecca Haff Lowry, an interview with composer Brent Michael Davids, and contributions from Heather Bruegl and Steven Newcomb, among others. Over 500 copies of the anthology will be placed in reference sections of every Library branch and offered to a number of schools, universities, and other NYC institutions to support the dissemination of these ideas.
On Thursday, April 14 participants from Farm Hub and the Lenape Center discuss the return of Lenape seeds to the homeland in collaboration with The Seed Rematriation Garden whose mission is to continue the Lenape homeland through community, culture, and the arts. These Indigenous leaders are actively addressing seed justice in their home communities.
Additionally, Greenpoint Library’s rooftop teaching garden will feature Indigenous fruit trees that were historically cultivated by the Lenape in Manhattan, creating continuity between the ecological past and present. The incorporation of organic materials into both the exhibition and the surrounding outdoor space creates a portal into the living culture of the Lenape people today.
Lenapehoking’s programming extends to the visual arts with a conversation on Thursday, April 28 between contemporary artist Sam Van Aken and the Lenape Center’s Joe Baker and Hadrien Coumans about Van Aken’s artistic practice which explores the idea of an Indigenous agricultural network.
On Tuesday, April 12 educator, social worker, poet and Lenape feather weaver Rebecca Haff Lowery continues BPL’s Indigenous Poetry Series which features Indigenous poets from across the continent who explore the art of poetry. A full itinerary of programming with times and locations follows below and is available here.
Lenapehoking: Talks & Events:
Lenapehoking: The History of Lenape Forced Removals
Wednesday, February 23, 6:30-7:30 pm
In this panel discussion the Lenape Center’s Curtis Zunigha and Joe Baker, and Indigenous historian Heather Bruegl discuss forced removals of the Lenape people from their northeastern homeland.
Lenapehoking: Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons Crisis
Monday, March 14, 7:00-8:30 pm
Central Library, Dweck Center
This panel addresses the crisis of violence, often gender-based, against Native Peoples. The panel features members of Nichusak (“my women friends”), a working group of extraordinary activists and lawyers created by Lenape Center to address the crisis and includes speakers Gloria Steinem, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Heather Bruegl, Caroline LaPorte, and Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, who are working to bring justice to this pressing human rights issue. Other group members include Chelsea Kimura, Rebecca Lowry, and Cardozo law students, Brett Jones and Sheryl Wallin.
Lenapehoking: The Tenacious Myth of the Purchase of Manhattan
Thursday, March 24, 6:30-7:30 pm
This discussion brings together the Lenape Center’s Joe Baker and Hadrien Coumans with Indigenous lawyer and playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle to correct the long-held and false narrative of the purchase of Manhattan.
Indigenous Poetry Series: Rebecca Haff Lowry
Tuesday, April 12, 7:00-8:00 pm
In this recurring series, BPL Presents features Indigenous poets from across the continent who explore the art of poetry. In April, in conjunction with BPL and the Lenape Center’s Lenapehoking Exhibition, the 2022 series continues with Rebecca Haff Lowry.
Lenapehoking: Returning Lenape Seeds to the Homeland
Thursday, April 14, 6:30-8:00 pm
In this panel discussion participants from Farm Hub and the Lenape Center discuss the return of Lenape seeds to the homeland. The Seed Rematriation Garden is a collaborative project between the Lenape Center, whose mission is to continue Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland, through community, culture, and the arts. These Indigenous leaders are actively addressing seed justice in their home communities.
Lenapehoking: The Orchards of Lenapehoking
Thursday, April 28, 6:30-8:00 pm
This discussion brings together the Lenape Center’s Joe Baker and Hadrien Coumans with contemporary artist Sam Van Aken who became connected with the center after exploring the idea of an Indigenous agricultural network.