Delaware Indians

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Delaware Indians sign Treaty of Penn with Benjamin West a painting.jpg

To get started in American Indian Research

The Delaware Indians were originally known as the Lenape or Lenni Lenape Indians, the name they called themselves. The American colonists named them the Delaware Indians.

Clans: Tukwsi-t, the wolf; Pukuwanku, the turtle; and Pele, the turkey

Original homelands: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware

Tribal Headquarters

The Delaware Nation is currently found primarily in western Oklahoma.

Delaware Nation
P.O. Box 825
Anadarko, OK 73005
31064 State Highway #281
Building 100
Anadarko, OK 73005
Phone: 405.247.2448
Fax: 405.247.9393

The Tribal office of each tribe maintains many records of value to the American Indian researcher.  Most of the tribes require enrollment in the tribe before they allow access to the records of its members. 


The Delaware or Lenape were forced to cede lands and migrate many times, moving into Ohio, Kansas, Texas and Indian Territory  

Brief Timeline

  • 1600's: First contact was with the Dutch
  • 1638: Swedish lived moved into the Delaware Bay area
  • 1682: Treaty with William Penn.
  • 1700's: Tribal members began to settle along the Ohio River 
  • 1789: Some of the tribe removed to Missouri and later to Arkansas
  • 1800: Many migrate to Indiana
  • 1820: Some moved to Texas, became known as the Southern band
  • 1824-51: The tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Fort Leavenworth Agency
  • 1835: Many members resettled in Kansas
  • 1851-55: The tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Agency while living in Kansas
  • 1855-73: The tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Delaware Agency
  • 1859: Delaware tribal members living in Texas removed to western Oklahoma 
  • 1867: Tribe began to settle west of the Mississippi River some removed to Canada
  • 1867: Delaware tribal members living in Kansas move to eastern Oklahoma and purchase rights in the Cherokee Nation. In 1890 become Cherokee citizens 
  • 1867-74: The tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Cherokee Agency
  • 1875-80: The tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Union Agency

The Southern Band

In the 1820's some of the tribe moved ot Texas, becoming known as the Southern Band of Delaware Indians

The band was under the jurisdiction of the Caddo and Red River Agencies

1847-59: The band was under the jurisdiction of the Texas Agency

1859-78: The band was under the jurisdiction of the Wichita Agency

1878-80: the band was under the jurisdiction of the Kiowa Agency

The Southern Band was under the jurisdiction of the Southern and Central Superintendencies

Additional Reference to the History of the Tribe

Frederick Webb Hodge, in his Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, gave a more complete history of the Delaware tribe, with estimations of the population of the tribe at various time periods. Additional details are given in John Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America.

Ohio History Central article on the Delaware Indians

The Delaware Tribe was under the following jurisdicdictions


Agencies are the field offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  They recorded most of the records pertaining to individual Indians. 

Piqua Agency

Ohio Agency

Fort Leavenworth Agency

Kansas Agency

Delaware Agency

Cherokee Agency

Union Agency

Caddo Agency

Red River Agency

Texas Agency

Wichita Agency

Kiowa Agency


Reservations: land established by treaty or law for the inhabitation of Indians..........

There are hundreds of Indian Reservations in the United States. Many are federally recognized and supervised.  Some are state reservations, administered by the state office of Indian Affairs. 


Superintencies supervised the local agencies and subagencies. 

Michigan Superintendency

St. Louis Superintendency

Central Superintendency

Southern Superintendency


Correspondence and Census

Tribe Agency Location of Original Records

Pre-1880 Correspondence

M234 RG 75

Rolls 962

 Roll Number


Film Number

Post-1885 Census

 M595  RG 75 Rolls 693

Roll Number


Film Number

Delaware Anadarko Area Office, 1881-1962 Fort Worth - - Rolls 218-23 -
Delaware, Kansas Fort Leavenworth Agency, 1824-1962 Washington D.C. Rolls 300-03 - - -
Delaware, Kansas Kansas Agency, 1851-55 Washington D.C. Rolls 364-70 - - -
Delaware, Kansas Delaware Agency, 1855-73 Washington D.C. Rolls 274-80 - - -
Delaware,Indian Terr. Cherokee Agency, 1867-74 Washington D.C. Rolls 101-12 - - -
Delaware, Indian Terr. Union Agency, 1875-80 Washington D.C. Rolls 865-77 - - -

1862 Census of Delaware Indians FHL Film: 989204

Census rolls various years, Delaware Indians holding citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. FHL film: 989204

Indian Pioneer Papers

In 1936, the Oklahoma Historical Society and University of Oklahoma requested a writer's project grant from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in which interviews would be conducted with early settlers in Oklahoma who had lived on Indian land. More than 100 writers conducted over 11,000 interviews and were asked to "call upon early settlers and (record) the story of the migration to Oklahoma and their early life here." [1] The University of Oklahoma Western History Collection has digitized the Indian Pioneer Papers which consists of approximately 80,000 indexed entries arranged alphabetically by personal name, place name, or subject. [2] An index to the Indian Pioneer Papers may also be found at OkGenWeb Oklahoma Genealogy. A separate index of Indians interviewed, including the Delaware, may be viewed at: “Indians in the Indian Pioneer Papers” Two surnames from the Delaware tribe found in the collection are: Ketchum and Zeigler (Ketchum).

  1. Blackburn, Bob L. "Battle Cry for History: The First Century of the Oklahoma Historical Society." n.d. Oklahoma Historical Society. 5 Oct. 1998.
  2. The University of Oklahoma Western History Collections


1682: Treaty with William Penn

Important Web Sites




Weslager, C.A., The Delaware Indians: A History, Rutgers University Press (1972), hardcover, 546 pages, WorldCat 282073


  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published