March 15, 2023

“Welcome to Princeton” Signs Should Recognize Lenni Lenape as Initial Inhabitants

To the Editor:

At a time when our community increasingly acknowledges that the lands we live on were the ancestral home of the Lenni Lenape, it was disappointing to see a front page photo in the March 8 Town Topics of a sign that perpetuates the idea that no one lived in Princeton until Europeans arrived in 1683.

“Welcome to Princeton, Settled in 1683” are the words on the seven signs greeting residents and visitors on the major roadways leading into Princeton, but the Lenni Lenape lived here long before that.

Beginning last fall, interested residents have encouraged municipal officials to remove the reference to the date of European settlement on these signs and replace it with a recognition that these lands were initially inhabited and cared for by the Lenni Lenape.

This matter has been discussed by the Civil Rights Commission, but to my knowledge no action has yet been taken by that commission or by mayor and Council. Until action is taken, it would be best not to give prominent display to the message the signs convey.

Robert Durkee
Maclean Circle