When first encountered by the 16th century Europeans, the Lenni Lenape had much in common with many of the northeastern indians as portrayed in encounters with settlers like Jamestown and Massachusetts Bay. Stories like Pocahantas and Thanksgiving are distorted views of this, but they are organized farmers of corn, squash, and beans - and among the more powerful forces of their area.
This game, however, takes place over four hundred years earlier. There is no history of this time, but archeology shows that Mississippian culture was in its heyday, and their ways were just starting to reach up into the uncivilized northeast. In the south are large cities built around mound temples to the Great Spirit, with vast fields of corn. Here in the northeast, though, are mostly only scattered tribes of nomadic hunter-gatherers. The Mississippian ways are only starting to filter up to the region.
In the game, the "Lenape" of this time are just starting to bring southern civilization to their region. Chief Lapawinso's father and grandfather, among others, have brought new ways of life from travel to the south - such as cultivation of corn and worship of the Great Spirit.
These advancements reflected status and organization of the Lenape, who dominate most of the surrounding tribes. For the past few generations, the Lenape have benefited from growing corn, but often crops have failed - and this was followed by a series of terrible plagues. Over the course of twenty years, several waves of sickness have killed over half the people of the tribe died. Recent times have been difficult, but other tribes in the region have not fared any better.
At present, there have been many clashes with the tribe to the north - the Tappan - who blame the Lenape's new ways for the present difficulties, mainly the devastating plagues. The Tappan presently control the large hilled island across the bay, that once was open territory for hunting among all the surrounding tribes.