Inwood Hill Park
The Daily Plant : Thursday, December 11, 2014
A Lenape Meal At Inwood Hill Park
In the beautiful Inwood Hill Park, situated right by the Hudson River, park goers were treated to a program in November led by Urban Park Rangers Rob Mastrianni, Stephanie Stachow, Jerry Seigler and Sunny Correro. For A Lenape Thanksgiving, the Rangers presented an experience for park goers to be transported back to a time when the Lenape resided in the Inwood Hill area. Program participants learned of the many natural resources which were utilized by the Lenape, the history of the area and got to enjoy a traditional Lenape meal.
Participants were led on a hike through Inwood Hill Park’s forest which included an opportunity to climb up and explore the cave shelter utilized by the Lenape for food storage and as a place to reside during severe weather. Ranger Rob treated participants to flute music by playing a Native American flute instrument which was fashioned out of a tree.
Ranger Sunny explained that what park goers to Inwood Hill Park experience today walking through the forested trails of Inwood Hill Park is very similar to what was around during the time when Lenape lived in the area.
By the entrance to the forest, participants saw the Shorakkopoch boulder which marks the site of a grand tulip tree which grew to a height of 165 feet and a girth of 20 feet. The tree was 220-years-old until its death in 1932. Shorakkopoch boulder also marks the possible site where the sale of Manhattan, once called Mannahatta “island of many hills” by the Lenape, may have taken place. Peter Minuit made the purchase of Manhattan in 1626 with trinkets and beads.
Ranger Rob and Ranger Stephanie pointed out natural resources which the Lenape utilized including the white pine tree. The pine needles which are high in vitamins can be chewed or made into pine needle tea. Pine needle tea is high in vitamin A and just a few pine needles contain 4-5 times more vitamin C than fresh squeezed orange juice.
The Rangers led the park participants back to right outside the nature center where an impressive traditional meal was ready. Participants were able to eat a delicious and hearty Lenape meal on unique wooden plates which added to the authenticity of the experience.
Dishes included a cornmeal and cranberry dish called sapon, Indian fry bread, a pot dish consisting of squash and orange gourds with sage. Ranger Jerry explained what this pot dish was like for the Lenape. “Observations of the Lenape dating from the first Dutch observers, described how they constantly kept pots on the fire, adding to it anything that was recently caught or found.”
Ranger Jerry used ingredients that were seasonally available just as the Lenape would have. Most of the herbs were grown by him as well but the ingredients can easily be found at greenmarkets or online. The acorn flour which was used for the fry bread is available at Vegan shops and online as well. White pine tree tea was available and helped warm participants on what was a windy and cold day.
This educational and interactive program is just one of the many programs which the Urban Park Rangers offer year-round. To find out about the many events offered by Parks visit www.nyc.gov/parks or type in Urban Park Rangers to view and download Outdoors in NYC, the Rangers newsletter and calendar.
-Submitted by Sabirah Abdus-Sabur, Conservation Corps Fellow and Press Officer at NYC Parks Press Office.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"One should eat to live, not live to eat."
Directions to Inwood Hill Park
Know Before You Go
Inwood Hill Nature Center
Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this facility is closed until further notice. To reach our Urban Park Rangers at Inwood Hill Park Park, please call (212) 304-2277.
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