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Meet the American who was revered as the 'patron saint' until he was canceled: Lenni Lenape chief Tammany

Lenni Lenape chief Tamanend, better known as King Tammany, was celebrated as the "Patron Saint of America" and honored by Americans for 200 years — until he was canceled.

The founding of the United States was shaped by inspirational figures authoring remarkable tales long since forgotten — or since erased. 

Tamanend is one of them.

More commonly called King Tammany, or Saint Tammany, he was a 17th-century Lenni Lenape (Delaware) chief who found a friend in ally in English Quaker William Penn — who settled the region in 1682. 


Tammany was revered as the "Patron Saint of America" by the generation of the Founding Fathers and the patriots who fought, bled and died for the cause of American independence.

"The Pennsylvania troops under Washington’s command were the first to raise their banners on which were inscribed ‘St. Tamanend,'" Leon Nelson Nichols wrote in 1892 in "The History of Tammany," which chronicles both the life of the man and the influential patriotic Tammany societies he inspired around the new nation.

Nichols added, "Soon other troops caught the zeal for Saint Tamanend until at last the whole American army had adopted the chief as its patron saint."

"Tamanend … played a prominent role in the establishment of peaceful relations among the Native American tribes and the English settlers who established Pennsylvania," reports, the official website of the Delaware tribe of Indians.

He was feted each May, most notably in the Mid-Atlantic states. 

"This is King Tammany’s Day … The People here have sainted him and keep his day," John Adams wrote from Philadelphia to future first lady Abigail back in Boston on May 1, 1777.

"It was as important a day as the Fourth of July," wrote Nichols. 

"While the army held its celebrations on May 12, one Philadelphia Tammany society, at least, celebrated on May 1."

The "men spent the day in mirth and jollity ... in honor of King Tammany," an aide to George Washington wrote from Valley Forge in May 1778. 


"It was during the Revolutionary War when stories of a patriotic and wise Indian chief had become circulated through the Colonies and had taken a strong hold upon the minds of the soldiers," Nichols wrote. 

After inspiring American patriots in the 18th century, Tammany shaped American politics in the 19th century and was celebrated in American popular culture well into the 20th century, most notably on the uniforms of professional sports teams. 

The first original American opera, "Tammany: the Indian Chief," was performed at John Street Theater in Manhattan in 1794. 

Tammany appears in James Fenimore Cooper’s classic 1826 American novel, "The Last of the Mohicans."

A statue of Tammany keeps watch over the campus of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

Another Tammany statue enjoys a place of prestige across from Philadelphia City Hall — the edifice itself topped by the image of Tamanend’s English brother Penn.

Tammany also serves as a silent sentinel to the heroes of Gettysburg. 

New York’s 42nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment — the Tammany Regiment — fought heroically on the infamous Pennsylvania battlefield upon which the course of American history turned.

The image of Tammany stands atop a monument to these men who helped defeat slavery. 

Tammany became a model of aspiration after the American Revolution. Patriotic Tammany societies proliferated around the nation. 


"This institution shall be called and known by the name of ‘Tammany Society, or Columbian Order,’" reads one Tammany Society Constitution of 1790.

"It shall connect in the indissoluble bonds of Patriots Friendship, American Brethren of known attachment to the Political Rights of Human Nature, and the Liberties of this Country."

Yes, Tammany, like Columbia in an earlier United States, was viewed as a personification of the ideal of human liberty.

Tammany Hall, the powerful Democrat Party machine of Boss Tweed fame that ruled New York City for decades, was one of those organizations named in his honor. 

Tammany Hall’s Manhattan office in Union Square featured a statue of Tamanend over the entrance.

Tammany’s likeness above Tammany Hall appears in the 2002 movie "Gangs of New York." 


It was through James Gaffney, a Democrat operative from Tammany Hall in New York City, that the image of King Tammany entered American professional sports. 

He purchased the Boston Rustlers of the baseball's National League in 1912. 

Gaffney quickly renamed the team the Boston Braves in honor of King Tammany and his own Tammany Hall. He added the image of the inspirational Lenni Lenape to the team's uniforms. 

Babe Ruth played for the Boston Braves in 1935, the final season of his career. The American icon last played wearing not Yankees pinstripes, but the face of the Patron Saint of America on his sleeve.

The image inspired by Tammany later adorned Braves uniforms as the franchise moved to Milwaukee and Atlanta. 

The Atlanta Braves, bowing to pressure from a nation that had forgotten its history, removed the image inspired by King Tammany from their uniforms in 1989. 

The Patron Saint of America had become the victim of cancel culture for the first time. But not the last time.

Businessman George Preston Marshall brought the National Football League to Boston in 1932. 

As was the custom of the era, he named the upstart pro football club after the more established local pro baseball team. 

Marshall's Boston Football Braves adopted the same primary red color scheme and logo as the Boston Baseball Braves. The football team even played at Braves Field in Boston. 

King Tammany had entered the imagery of the NFL.

But Marshall’s deal at Braves Field lasted only one year. He moved the team to nearby Fenway Park the following year — home of the American League Boston Red Sox

The Braves team needed a new name. Boston Red Sox. Boston Redskins. It was simple as that. 

The new name honored tradition, history and patriotism — and was consistent with his existing red color scheme, while paying tribute to the host organization. 

The Boston Redskins played at the home of the Boston Red Sox from 1933 to 1936. Marshall moved the franchise to Washington D.C. in 1937. The name Redskins and the proud Tammany logo went with him. 

Marshall died in 1969. The team freshened its logo in 1971. 

The new version was designed by Blackfeet native Walter "Blackie" Wetzel — with input and approval from Native American groups. 

The new Native American logo adorned the side of Washington Redskins helmets starting in 1972. 

The logo was reportedly meant to be an image of Blackfeet Chief John Two Guns White Calf. 

But it bore a striking resemblance to the only known portrait of Tamanend: same distinctive large nose, same white feathers with black tips, same long black hair pulled tightly into a braid, similar head dress trussed to the hair.

Yet this tribute to the Patron Saint of America came under attack in later years. 

Tammany was canceled again in 2020. The Redskins bowed to pressure from a public that no longer cared about or knew about the nation's rich multicultural heritage. 


The organization ditched the proud image inspired by King Tammany.

The team that took the field for nearly 80 years in celebration of the Patron Saint of America was renamed the generic Washington Commanders in 2022.

Marshall, dead and unable to defend himself, was labeled a racist in the process to rewrite history. 

The reality is that Marshall had nothing to do with concocting native imagery for nefarious purposes. Instead, he inherited the celebratory image of the beloved Patron Saint of America from James Gaffney and the Democrats of Tammany Hall in New York City

The name Redskins wasn't some evil invective of a raving racist. It was an alliterative tribute to the Boston Red Sox, a clever name that allowed Marshall to keep alive the imagery of beloved King Tammany. 

But in the decades after Marshall died, a simplistic new binary narrative of American history had emerged. 

Indigenous people were only victims and Europeans were only rapacious invaders in this new version of history, crafted most notably by influential Marxist historian Howard Zinn. 

His simplistic narrative has since been popularized and proselytized by zealots in academia.

"Zinn falsified the history of natives," Mary Grabar, the author of "Debunking Howard Zinn," told Fox News Digital.


"He was a fiction writer, not a historian," said Grabar, a fellow with the Alexander Hamilton Institute in Clinton, New York. 

Zinn does not mention Tammany in his influential 1980 attack on American history, "The People's History of the United States." 

The real historical narrative of King Tammany appears too complex and nuanced to fit the modern cancel-culture narrative.

In reality, a Lenni Lenape chief shaped 200 years of American history — and was celebrated as the Patron Saint of the new nation.

King Tammany has since been forgotten at best, purposely erased at worst. 

"The American ideals of human right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ spring chiefly from original American sources and were developed on American soil for untold centuries before Europeans arrived on this continent," historian and biographer of early Americans Joseph White Norwood wrote in his 1938 book "The Tammany Legend."

"These ideals are therefore so distinctively native to the soil that they should be known as the first Americans knew them, by a name that completely symbolizes them. This name is Tamanend."

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