Unami Tribe

Unami Indians. One of the principal divisions of the Delaware, formerly occupying the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, from the junction of the Lehigh southward about the Delaware line. According to Brinton, many of the New Jersey Delaware were Unami who had crossed the Delaware to escape the inroads of the Conestoga, and Ruttenber classes with this division the Navasink, Raritan, Hackensack, Aquakanonk, Tappan and Haverstraw, of northern New Jersey.  The Unami held precedence over the other Delaware.  Their totem was the turtle (pakoango). According to Morgan, they were one of the three gentes of the Delaware, while Brinton says the turtle was merely the symbol of a geographic division.

The Unami have sometimes been called the Turtle tribe of the Delaware.

Delaware, Unami,

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

8 thoughts on “Unami Tribe”

  1. I’m descended from the Hayhurst family who came over with William Penn. One of the boys married a native healer but records of names have been lost. I’m trying to confirm my strong hunch that she was an Unami. My email is mnwhit8@aol.com

  2. To my knowledge the map does have it wrong. Although in its own right it is not such a bad map.The Unami were around the Philadelphia area. The Unilachtico were (by the ocean people) in New Jersey as far north as Barnegat Bay. After the Unami, going upriver, were the Unalimi, then the Munsi.

  3. I may be way out in left field because I am a real beginner to the historical research and only know what little I have read and what my Grandfather told me. Depending on what you call the divisions, but I will stick with the Lenape Nation, the tribes (i.e. Unami), and bands (e.g. many along the Brandywine, Wissemehikon, Perkiomen, and Tulpehoken). My understanding is that there were 4 divisions of the Lenape (tribes) from readings of the early missionaries including the Moravians and Naturalist, Peter Kalm among them. Only 3 are noted presently Unilachtgo (the people by the ocean), Unami ( the people by/of the river), and the Munsi/ Minsi of Minisink the fourth division/tribe is missing. If so only one place have I seen the Unalimi (the people of the upriver/streams) mentioned. This would be the fourth division and missing division, would coincide with the early writings that I know of and what grandfather told me. It would also explain some problems with explaining linguistics and placement of bands. Language being inbetween Unami and Munsi. Also I understand that these bands were found on both sides of the river but more heavily on the New Jersey side. Therefore, also agreeing with what my Grandfather said, the Hackensack along with the Tappan and others may belong to the Unalimi. I also note that clans divisions and tribal divisions are often confused. Although they run parallel, they do not always coincide. All this bears further research by me as I try to understand my grandfather’s connections.

  4. Hi i am a firm believer the Hackensack were Unami they used the letter R in there language the Munsee didnt. Can you confirm this through literature from Sarah or Blandina Kiersted along with David Devries.

  5. I am Aaron Tobias son of Albert Tobias grandson of Albert Tobias from the Moravian of the Thames band in Kent county southern Ontario Canada. I am seeking knowledge about my people. If there is any information anyone can direct me to I would really appreciate it thank you. Aaron@alrighty.us

  6. Unilachtigo, Unami and Munsee are three different documented dialects according to the research that I find. Where do you find evidence that Moravians called Unami speakers Unilachtigo?

  7. Thank you for this resource. I am sharing it as I encourage everyone to learn about the original people of their region and learn to say Thanks & Giving in their language: Wanishi Miltin!
    Meanwhile, I am curious why some maps claim the Unami is the southern most dialect and others say Unilachtigo is. How do I reconcile this difference and ensure that I am teaching others accurately? Here is the map I have been referring to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenape

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