Lenape TREES performance

Lenape Nation Mid-Winter Gathering and Ceremony

Damascus, PA—Farm Arts Collective, a newly formed cultural organization based on Willow Wisp Organic Farm attended the Mid-Winter Ceremony of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania on Sunday. January 27th in Brodheadsville, PA.

The Farm Arts Collective ensemble performed a short play entitled TREES, a performance based on the book, “The Hidden Life of Trees,” by Peter Wohlleben, which describes how trees are deeply connected.  Through movement, song and text, Farm Arts Collective’s performance not only delivers the scientific facts about this phenomenon, but illuminates humanity’s need for inter-connectedness and community life.

Chief Gentle Moon of the Lenape Nation invited artistic director, Tannis Kowalchuk of Farm Arts Collective and Greg Swartz of Willow Wisp Organic Farm to their mid- winter ceremony after last summer’s signing of a Friendship Treaty between The Lenape Nation and Willow Wisp Organic Farm (Swartz and Kowalchuk).

In July, the first nation contingent was on a 2-week journey down the Delaware River in canoes and kayaks that started in Hancock, NY and ended in Cape May. Along the way, the group stopped at Willow Wisp Organic Farm for a lunch and tour where they struck up a friendship.

White Elk Sings To Children

The Lenape winter ceremony events took place in a park building and included, an opening smudge ceremony, a Lenape Language session, drumming and singing, the performance of TREES by Farm Arts Collective, a potluck lunch, story-telling and social dancing. During the story-telling, Chief Gentle Moon and an elder gave Farm Arts Collective the Lenape name, Hituk Manitowak, or Tree Spirits.

Artistic director, Tannis Kowalchuk says, “It is a great honor to receive a Lenape name, and myself and the company were very moved by the gift of being named Hituk Manitowak. We will use our name with great honor and respect for the Lenape people, their history, and our future collaborations.”

The company has invited Chief Gentlemoon, his drumming group, and singer Dave White Elk Elmore to give a blessing to the Farm Arts Collective opening ceremony and farm tour set for Sunday June 2nd at Willow Wisp Organic Farm. The event will be open to the community.

Photos: Contributed