Somewhere, moving methodically through the mists shrouding a distant Pleistocene dawn,
human beings emerged, and set foot in the Western Hemisphere for the first time. Although one of
the central myths of world history – that Columbus ‘discovered’ America – is still common
‘knowledge’, by the time Europeans set sail for these shores in the late 15th century, the Americas
had already been home to Indian peoples for a thousand generations. Radiating across one of the
greatest frontiers ever seen, these were the real discoverers who explored and eventually inhabited
the American continents from Tierra del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic.

For thousands of years myriad thriving civilizations ebbed and flowed; some majestic and
powerful, others less dramatic, each evolving distinct languages and cultures adapted to their
individual environment. Contrary to the distorted and often disparaging impression of the Indian
story that Hollywood helped create, Native America was indeed a dynamic and diverse collection
of nations when Europeans arrived.

Among the first to greet those newcomers were the Lenape, an important Eastern tribal group who
had settled the lands between the present-day Delaware and lower Hudson River valleys some
12,000 years before.
“Ghost Trails” is their story, told extensively in their own voices, for the first
time in a limited series documentary production.

This fascinating and comprehensive look at a seminal part of the lost history of America will offer
hard science from a wide range of sources and disciplines. Who the Lenape were, how they got
here, and what their lives were like as their civilization evolved across the millennia is one of the
great untold epics of history, as well as one of the most challenging for science to interpret and
explain. Much remains to be learned, and new information is surfacing all the time, so the debate
promises to be lively.

Along the way, a vast panorama of their world unfolds – its lifeways, beliefs, skills, arts, and
technology – creating a meditative and dignified window into the lands & lives of these First
Americans as they have never been seen before.

But the view from the academy can only fill in part of the picture. For the rest, we must consider
things from the Indian perspective, which arises from a fundamentally different set of definitions,
values, and goals. This is the key theme upon which everything else turns, for until Indian history
is extracted from the ‘Western’ concepts of contingency and practicality, from a market-driven
experience of reality, it can never be grasped.

Act III opens with Henry Hudson’s appearance one late summer day in 1609. “Strange & bearded
foreigners dressed in iron emerged out of dreams on floating cloud-covered islands…”

Imagine what it must have been like as these two cultures, so utterly opposed philosophically,
came together for the first time! For ironically both groups, now representative of distinct streams
in the river that is mankind had long ago been separated following a common African genesis.
Having circled the earth from opposing directions, they were now reuniting…

Alas, after contact came conflict, and, for the Lenape, decline. The immigrant settlers who soon
arrived looked, but saw no civilization. They drove the Delaware (as they were now called) and
scores of other Eastern tribes from their sacred homelands without a thought. They built cities &
cleared farms across the continent, erasing the legacy of ancient North America as they went.

For a long time the land America built its new dream upon did not know its own roots. Even today
as people consider what came before, they see but still do not understand. As a result America
remains a great enigma unto itself, unreconciled with the ghosts of the past …

As refugees in a land that was once theirs, the Lenape endured 300 years of atrocity and woe that
nearly extinguished them. But the trail did not end there. Today their tribal centers can be found
in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada. Although it has been a long & often bitter struggle,
there is a rebirth of native pride & awareness afoot, working to preserve the language and
traditions that remain, to restore the community, songs, wisdom, and prayers of their past.

Thus the Lenape story is a continuing one. From the hilltops and riverbanks where they once
lived, the spirits of the ancestors keep watch…Perhaps they still travel the worn pathways of all the
accumulated ages, ghostly presences on a trail that stretches back to the dawn of time. They have
settled down now to live in the names of the land, largely invisible to the hustling mob that roars
heedlessly by… but if all we can detect of them is a mere glimpse, we are wise to study it carefully.
It may be a glimpse of our future as well.