Nora Thompson Dean 1907–1984
Nora Thompson Dean was a Lenape Native American traditionalist. Her birth name was Wenjipahkeehlehkwe which roughly translates to “touching leaves woman.”She was a native speaker of the Unami language and dedicated herself to the preservation of the language and her culture.
Nora was educated in Oklahoma public schools and graduated high school as salutatorian. Since she was raised according to Native customs, she appreciated and taught them. She instructed Lenape religious ceremonies, social functions, dances, craftwork, herbal medicines, and language. Dean became an influential member of her community. She received awards for her crafts work and met with government representatives for Native preservation. She lectured at various universities and recorded Lenape language lessons. An Oklahoma governor declared Nora an ambassador of goodwill.