Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the Lower Raritan

Today we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, with many state and other offices recognizing the holiday as Columbus Day. In rethinking how we celebrate American history, we reflect on the original people of our watershed: the Algonquin, known as Lenni Lenapi (Lenape). The tribal name Lenape can be translated from the Algonquin language, to mean “Original People or True People”.

Did you know: Our present day travel patterns are still significantly defined by the Lenape trail system? These travel patterns endure, despite the Lenape being pushed out of the watershed by expanding European colonies in the 18th century.

Map courtesy John P. Snyder

One of the most famous historic trails is the Assunpink, which derives its name from the Algonquin word Ahsën’pink – meaning “stony, watery place.” This trail traced a path between the Delaware River in south and the Raritan River in the north. Now a roadway system, the Assunpink has served as a route linking Philadelphia and Perth Amboy for European settlers and their descendants. George Washington used the trail during the American Revolution. Names attributed to it have included: the Old Dutch Trail, The King’s Highway, Lincoln Highway, and Route 27.

For a fun day trip you might consider tracing the historic Assunpink Trail or the nearby East Coast Greenway by foot or bike!

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