In honor of the contributions of Native American Indians—the ancestors, the elders, this generation, and the generations to come—this sculpture commemorates Tamanend, a Sakima, of the Lenni-Lenape nation who resided in the Delaware Valley when Philadelphia, or "Coaquannock" was established.
Tamanend stands on a turtle, which represents Mother Earth. The eagle, a revered messenger of the Great Spirit has a wampum belt in its grasp. This belt recognizes the friendship treaty under the Shackamaxon Elm between William Penn ("Mikwon"), Tamanend ("the Affable One") and other leaders of the Lenni-Lenape nation. It reads—"to live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure."
Penn dealt with the Lenni-Lenape people when he came to the land given him by the King of England. He bought the land from the Lenni-Lenape through a number of treaties. Tamanend was one of the Sakimas who played a prominent role as a welcoming delegate on Penn's arrival in 1682, and in the early treaties of 1683 and 1692.
Tamanend was considered the patron saint of America by the colonists prior to American Independence. Tamarend Day was celebrated annually on May 1st in Philadelphia and bells were rung in his honor.