Curtis Zunigha, an enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians (Oklahoma) and co-founder/co-director of the Lenape Center in New York City, will share the story, experiences, music and legacy of the Lenape at a series of events on Thursday, Nov. 17, and Friday, Nov. 18.
Zunigha will present “Forced Removal of the Lenape People: History and Homecoming” at a Keynote Lecture Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center on the University’s campus. The talk is free and open to the public. Zunigha will share his experience and mission to heal the wounds of forced removal and colonization and his desire to restore the circle of friendship, respect and shared occupancy. This lecture is part of the Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and supported by a Diversity Initiatives Grant through the University’s Office of Equity and Diversity.
On Friday, Nov. 18, a noon Diversity and Inclusion Lunch and Learn for University faculty and staff will feature a special presentation and musical performance by Zunigha. He will share his traditions and the present-day culture of the Lenape people. Reservations are required to attend the luncheon hosted by the Office of Equity and Diversity in the Kane Forum. Faculty and staff may contact [email protected] or call 570-941-6645 with questions and to register.
During his visit to Scranton, Zunigha will also speak to students at Northeast Intermediate School, in addition to meetings with local government officials and University and community stakeholders. The intent of the events and meetings is to foster deeper learning and engagement in ways that honor Indigenous peoples and cultures, and the history and ongoing legacy and impact of colonialism.
An expert on Delaware/Lenape culture, language and traditional practices, Zunigha has more than 35 years of experience in tribal government and administration, community development, telecommunications and cultural preservation. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
The Lenape Center promotes the history and culture of people through the arts, environmental activism, social justice and agricultural practices. The Lenape Center’s work represents the return of the original Indigenous people to their original homeland of Lenapehoking, which includes areas of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
“Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story” seeks to capture the unique narrative of Scranton and relate it to the history of the United States prior to the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the United States. The ongoing, two-year project incorporates eight themes, including how Scranton has been portrayed in the popular imagination, its industrial era growth, Indigenous history, religious tapestry, diverse immigrant populations – past and present – and the role it played in the Underground Railroad and Black history.
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