The lifestyle of the Lenape changed forever upon contact with Europeans. One source of change was the European appetite for furs in making robes, coats, hats and gloves. Dutch, Swedish and English explorers and traders exchanged items of metal, glass and cloth and trinkets of all kinds for pelts or animals like beaver and otter caught by the Lenape.
Furs and hides were widely used by the Lenape for clothing and as a covering for dwellings, but they held little social or economic value in their traditional culture. The Lenape saw little risk in trading such common materials for exotic European goods. The best furs were derived from animals in the Appalachians where the climate was colder than in the Middle and Lower Delaware Valley.
Rivalry among Native American groups led to overexploitation and depletion of fur-bearing animals. The Lenape competed in the fur trade with the Mohawks and Mahicans to the north and the Susquenannocks to the southwest. By 1659 Lenape participation in the fur trade was virtually over, due to a shortage of pelts.
Links to learn more - New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; American Swedish Museum, Philadelphia