(AP) — A Native American tribe in Delaware is seeking to reclaim land and establish sovereignty.
The News Journal of Wilmington reports the Lenape Indian tribe wants to own the lands of an ancestral church, cemetery and schoolhouse where its children were taught before desegregation. The tribe currently owns a vacant lot near the Dover church that spans about one half-acre. Chief Dennis Coker says he wants to build a community center on part of the land.
Delaware officially recognized the tribe in 2016. Coker says establishing it as an independent nation and accumulating land has been a slow process. The school’s land is polluted, having been used as a state police firing range for decades. The state is helping with remediation, a multistage process that involves testing and cleaning the soil.