About Chief Tamanend
Tamanend or Tammany or Tammamend, the "affable", (c. 1628-1698) was a chief of one of the clans that made up the Lenni-Lenape nation in the Delaware Valley at the time Philadelphia was established. Tamanend is best known as a lover of peace and friendship who played a prominent role in the establishment of peaceful relations among the Native American tribes and the English settlers who established Pennsylvania, led by William Penn Tamanend reputedly took part in a meeting between the leaders of the Lenni-Lenape nation, and the leaders of the Pennsylvania colony held under a large elm tree at Shakamaxon in the early 1680s. There, Tamanend is reported to have announced that the Lenni-Lenape and the English colonists would "live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure." These words have been memorialized on the statue of Tamanend that stands in Philadelphia today. It is believed that Tamanend died in 1698. Over the next century, many folk legends surrounded Tamanend and his fame assumed mythical proportions among the people of Philadelphia, who began to call him "King Tammany," "Saint Tammany," and the "Patron Saint of America." The people of Philadelphia also organized a Tammany society and an annual Tammany festival. These traditions soon spread across America. The reason for Tammany's popular status can be attributed to the need that patriotic colonists had to express a distinct "American" identity, in place of their former European nationalities. Tammany, an American Indian, provided an apt symbol for patriotic Americans to identify with. Because of Philadelphia's political significance during the founding of the United States of America, Tammany soon became a national symbol throughout much of the newly-formed country.