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​ARTC student Annabelle Fichtner talks about net-making shuttles and net floats, including two she attributes to Lenape fisherman Clem Carney, as Lenape tribal citizen Melody Cline looks on. Image: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.

​ARTC student Annabelle Fichtner recently traveled to the Smithsonian with Lenape citizens and community members to study early fishing nets and other ancestral artifacts. From a Delaware Public Media article by Sophia Schmidt:

Several Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware citizens and community members recently travelled to the National Museum of the American Indian’s Cultural Resources Center for the first time.

At their visit to the Cultural Resources Center (CRC) in Suitland, Md., the group that included Principal Chief of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware Dennis Coker saw fishing nets like those their relatives and ancestors made.

CRC staff pulled a variety of Mid-Atlantic region nets, fykes, eel traps, floats and net-making tools from the object collections.

Most were made around the late 19th or early 20th centuries, and were identified primarily as Nanticoke. Several Pamunkey and Mattaponi objects were also displayed.

The Delaware contingency was led by University of Delaware student Annabelle Fichtner— who was visiting the collections for research. In addition to studying art conservation and anthropology at UD, she’s an intern with the Tribe’s Village of Fork Branch Cultural Mapping Project.

​ARTC student Annabelle Fichtner (right) and her advisor, Winterthur Textile Conservator and WUDPAC Affiliated Assistant Professor Laura Mina (left), hold up a fyke. Image: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.

Fichtner says her undergraduate thesis investigates “how fishing nets were traditionally made among Mid-Atlantic tribes in general, and …  how this knowledge can then be spread and revived within contemporary Native communities.” . . .

Chief Coker says from the Tribe’s perspective, the project is about more than nets.

“The goal in identifying some of these cordage materials and identifying net-making techniques … is simply an exercise in reminding our people how resourceful they were in order to survive," he said.

Coker sees the project not so much as a rediscovery of cultural practices, but as a tool for expanding awareness.

To learn more about these collections and communities, and about Annabelle's research, read the full Delaware Public Media article here.

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ARTC student Annabelle Fichtner traveled to the Smithsonian with Lenape citizens and community members to study early fishing nets and other ancestral artifacts.

​ARTC student Annabelle Fichtner traveled to the Smithsonian with Lenape citizens and community members to study early fishing nets and other ancestral artifacts.

9/11/2018
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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu