Native American Heritage Programs Carla holding cornKwangomelhenna wuntschi Lennapeuhockink! N’mentschihhenna eli payan! — We greet you from the land of the Lenape!  We are glad because you have come.

Native American Heritage Programs celebrates the local Lenape (Delaware Indian) culture & contributions of Native Americans.  We offer traveling programs and exhibits that celebrate Native American culture & history at your site!

Allan & Carla Messinger at Catasaqua Fall Fest -credit Catasaqua Press
Allan & Carla Messinger at Catasaqua Fall Fest -credit Catasaqua Press

 Welcome to our website!  Our pages are designed for children and adults, so please be patient while our graphics load!  Please do not use them without
written permission, as many of them are copyrighted.  Our new website uses
arrows with the main topic to show subpages.  Feel free to visit them!
Waníshi (Thank you)!

Over 35 years of experience helping educators meet their goals by providing
educational in school programs and workshops for schools, libraries, historical
societies, senior centers, groups and businesses. Please book your Native American Heritage Programs early!   Contact us at 610-434-6819 or palenape@enter.net

Golden eagle feathers

Carla Messinger is a Cultural Educator who has received extensive training for the NationalCarla Messinger Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Mather Center (Dept. of the Interior), American Association of State & Local History, Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and various state institutions such as the PA Council on the arts, PA Council of the Humanities, and the PA Federation of Museums & Historical Societies.

A Native American born in Pennsylvania and residing here all her life, Carla is descended from the Lenape people who remained here while other Lenape migrated West.  She is not a member of any out-of-state or Canadian federally recognized Delaware tribe or nation, and she is not affiliated with any 501c3 Native social groups.

Celebrating Native American Culture with Traveling Native Heritage Programs

We focNative American Heritage Programs Carla & nanum (raccoon)us on Lenape (Delaware) Lifeways in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and parts of New York, Native American Contributions, Women’s Life Programs, Natives in the Civil War, Indian Wars in Pennsylvania, Environmental & Contemporary Issues, How Native Americans Saved Football and other programs which are available for preschool, school age, special needs, adult and senior groups, libraries, social organizations, festivals and businesses.

We offer a variety of off-site programs and exhibits for children and adults of all ages and ability levels, including special needs groups. Our presenters can work with one group at a time and are happy to tailor the program to your group’s needs. In addition we can provide exhibits and talks at your festival or conference! Please call well in advance to reserve your date of choice.

Attention Teachers!
We help you meet Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards in History & Arts / Humanities, New Jersey’s Core Content Standards in Social Studies and Delaware’s History Standards in Native American and early American studies.

Adult Programs for Organizations, Libraries, Social Groups, Senior Centers, Diversity Day Programs for Businesses & Groups, Festivals & Events

Little Flower crayonsNative American Heritage Programs has been designated a Woman/Minority Business by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania & Certified by the State of Delaware.

Native American people today live like other people in your neighborhood. Your children can find Little Flower on several pages doing chores and having fun!

      When the Shadbush Blooms is available as a paperback for children to enjoy!  

When the Shadbush Blooms   Signed & dedicated copies are available at www.whentheshadbushblooms.net.  Also available through your favorite bookseller or in bulk through Lee & Low.  “The glory of white shadbush blossoms on the cover should be used as an excuse to pull it out in the spring and share it!”

Your can view the video of When the Shadbush Blooms on the left you will find the Shadbush link.  The Activity page includes a link to the Teacher/Parent Guide.  Enjoy! 

When the Shadbush Blooms – Review By Booklist  6/2020       Lee & Low revives this beautiful #OwnVoices look at the seasons, as experienced by the Lenni Lenape people, which was originally published in 2007 by Tricycle Press and had fallen out of print. A multigenerational tale unfolds through rich acrylic scenes painted on double-page spreads, upon which the left page shows a family’s great-great-grandparents engaged in activities with their children that mirror those unfolding during the present day on the right. An entire year is depicted, with time marked as the Lenape traditionally have observed it—through telling shifts in nature, such as the “Grass and Geese Moon” and the “Heartberry Moon,” and through activities the Lenape people associate with specific times of year, as with the “Planting Moon” and the “Moon of Roasting Ears of Corn.” The seamless integration of the past with the present gently but powerfully shows the enduring power of tradition and history, while also highlighting the cyclical aspect of nature. Informative back matter provides more detail on the Lenni Lenape people, seasons, and culture. A lovely, enriching offering.

We have won the 15th Annual Skipping Stones Honor Awards & National Children’s Choice Book Award Finalist!  When the Shadbush Blooms has been named to the 2008 list of Best Children’s Books by the Bank Street College Children’s Book Committee! We have also won the CCBC Choice 2008, Children’s Cooperative Book Center Award & 2008 Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts. Recommended to teachers by the National Museum of the American Indian, Spring 2008 Education E-Newsletter; Recommended on National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” November 2007; Featured in Kirkus Reviews’ BEA/ALA Big Book Guide 2007.


Carla Messinger’s long history of volunteerism and service in Lehigh County deserves to be recognized and celebrated. For 25 years she was the full-time unpaid Acting Executive Director and primary docent of Allentown’s small Lenape museum. There she presented programs and organized events on-and offsite for thousands of school children and the general public, including people of every age and ability level–all without receiving a paycheck, benefits, or health coverage.

Carla went on to found Native American Heritage Programs in 2002 and as its director presents programs at schools and colleges, social groups, businesses, government agencies, and festivals, often accepting such modest compensation that she is a de facto volunteer!!  Moreover, for over 35 years she has regularly bought, gathered, and distributed clothing and personal care items to William Allen High School students, working with Donna Balascak until that teacher retired, then with others until the pandemic arrived. Carla also makes monthly contributions to food banks and donates supplies to Cedarbrook at Fountain Hill.

Her ongoing outreach and achievements in the local and regional community deserve all the positive adjectives named in this application. She is inspiring because she so completely embodies the spirit of volunteerism while tirelessly pursuing her life’s mission–sharing the contributions Native Americans have made to the culture now shared by those living where her Pennsylvania Lenape ancestors did at the time of Columbus.

Carla is also courageous, because she tirelessly advocates for a minority’s rights at a time when equality and inclusiveness are very controversial issues. Her work is unusual and to some extent innovative, because 40 percent of Americans believe Native Americans no longer exist, and no one else in this area is as committed as Carla to making them visible and describing their legacy.

Extraordinarily generous and kindhearted, she is a very supportive person who is always ready to respond helpfully to teachers and students consulting her information-packed 100+ page Native American Heritage Programs website, lenapeprograms.info. She’s a wonderful friend as well–volunteering often to do necessary shopping or driving, share information or home-cooked food, provide companionship when it’s needed, or perform other errands or favors. Deeply compassionate, she readily goes out of her way to help anyone in trouble. And while doing any of the above, she is unfailingly cheerful!

Carla’s pro-bono efforts as an educational consultant reach and impact many people in the community. She has donated copies of her prizewinning children’s book When the Shadbush Blooms to libraries and several schools in the Lehigh Valley, writes Opinion pieces for The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Morning Call, and recently did a half-hour appearance with John Pearce on Bethlehem’s WDIY NPR station (88.1 FM) and a 15-minute segment on the Sunrise Show on WFMZ Channel 69 TV.

Census 20

PHClogo2008 Pennsylvania Humanities Council – Commonwealth Speakers: Native American Life & History  – 2004-2005   2008-2009   2010-2011

Bookmark this page for an easy return!

Native American Heritage Programs
Email: palenape@enter.net  Website: lenapeprograms.info
Voice: 610.434.6819
Wawullamallessil (Fare thee well)

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