November: Fall Harvest


For hundreds and hundreds of years the Lenape Indians celebrated the Fall Harvest, which is similar yet different to the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations Americans take part in every year.  The Lenape Tribe would hold a festival every year during the autumn shortly after the great harvest.  The festival would last around ten to twelve days and marked the beginning of the tribe’s hunting season. The Lenape Indians also used this celebration to give thanks to the Great Spirit for blessing them with the harvest of their food and animals.

Their feast likely had different food then what Americans are used to seeing at a Thanksgiving Day table.  In fact, it is questionable if there was even a turkey!  It is certain that the Three Sisters were surely on the table; maize (corn), beans, and squashes. It is likely that the Lenape also had venison meat (deer) and fish for the feast.


Lenape Games

Shuttlecock Game: Lenape Indians played games of “aim and toss” that were played with the shuttlecock.


  • Dried corn cobs
  • Feathers (available in packages at craft supply store)
  • Nail
  • Glue 


  1. Teacher using nail, pre-”drill” a hole into the soft end of the corn cob.  Make this rather deep, so the children can fit 2 feathers into the hole.
  2. Have children select 2 feathers, insert them into hole
  3. Glue around the feather shaft and in the hole 

Game to play

  • Each player needs one shuttlecock.  The game needs one hula-hoop
  • Choose a “judge”.  The judge will roll the hula-hoop.
  • Form 2 equal teams
  • Have the teams stand in 2 lines facing each other about 10 feet apart.
  • The judge rolls the hula-hoop between the 2 lines.
  • The members of one team try to throw their shuttlecocks through the hoop as it rolls by. Team members must stay in line.
  • The judge gives the team one point for each shuttlecock that goes through the hoop.
  • The winner is the team with the most points.


Bowl Game Activity: The Lenape had a game similar to the “Bowl Game.” In prehistoric times, the bowl was of wood and the “chips” were made from bone and were painted with charcoal or natural plant dyes.


  • Styrofoam plate or meat tray
  • Large flat bowl or pie pan
  • 48 counting sticks (craft sticks or toothpicks)
  • magic markers
  • Assembling game
  • Cut six circles out of the Styrofoam. Use a small lid as a grade so that they are all the same size.
  • Decorate one side of each of the circles with the markers.


  1. Put the six Styrofoam circles in the bowl.
  2. One player flips the circles up in the bowl, catches them back in the bowl, and adds up score.
  3. The next player takes a turn. 


  • If a circle lands design side up, it counts as one point.
  • If a circle lands blank side up, it counts as zero.
  • The player takes a counting stick for each point earned.
  • When the 48 counting sticks are gone, players count their sticks to see who has the most.



Additional Resources

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