An American Tail Wiki
Advertisement
Lenape

The Lenape Mice (pronounced Leh-nah-pey), also known to Europeans as the Delaware tribe, are a faction that appear in An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island. They are a clan of indigenous mice who once lived among the Lenape peoples in the area of modern New York. Upon witnessing the cruelty of the European colonists towards the human Lenape, the Lenape mice decided to move underground before the same fate could befall them, constructing a village in a large cavern beneath Manhattan Island. They also dug a series of secret passages to remain connected with the surface, setting traps within them to deter incursions from the settlers. They lived in peace for the next two hundred years, keeping their traditions and culture alive even as the city of New York grew above them, and the settlers and their descendants were left unaware of their presence.

By 1886, the Sakima of the Lenape was Chief Wulisso.

Role in An American Tale: The Treasure of Manhattan Island[]

In 1886, an expedition consisting of Fievel Mousekewitz, Tony Toponi, Dr. Dithering, Scuttlebutt, and the cat Tiger discover the village while following a map left behind by the Lenape. Although initially suspicious, Chief Wulisso accepts Fievel's offering of matzo ball soup and welcomes the strangers with a great feast. However, during the festivities, Scuttlebutt is caught stealing from the village and detained. Wulisso angrily confronts the expedition over this breach-of-trust, but he accepts Tony's insistence that Scuttlebutt was acting alone and allows them to stay. Over the next few hours, the visitors explore the village and learn about its history and customs, and when they leave, Wulisso sends his daughter, Cholena, to accompany them to the surface. This he does in order to determine if the Europeans have changed their ways.

Unfortunately, upon the expedition's return to the surface, Scuttlebutt reveals the village's existence to the owners of the Cheese Factory, who decide to provoke a war between the city and the Lenape in order to distract their workers from their own grievances. Mr. Grasping incites a mob to hunt the city for Cholena and the expedition members, although they only manage to capture Dr. Dithering and are later talked down by Fievel's father. Despite this, an invasion led by NYPD Chief McBrusque still sets out to destroy the village. Fievel, his sister Tanya, Tony, and Cholena manage to reach the village first and warn them of the impending attack. Wulisso is pessimistic about his clan's chances, but he agrees to Fievel's plan to ambush the invaders. When the NYPD arrive, the Lenape set upon them with produce and manage to fend them off. In order to prevent another attack, Wulisso decides to collapse the tunnel Fievel's group had discovered. Before the visitors depart once more, Wulisso tells Fievel of his hope that the Europeans will one day learn to share the world and asks the young mouse to teach them.

Customs and Lifestyle[]

The Lenape mice are wary of outsiders from what they call the Upper-World, but are hospitable to visitors who come in good faith. In such cases, they will celebrate with a great feast in the visitors' honor and will call upon the spirits to embrace them. They will also explain their history and traditions to those who are interested, as demonstrated when Cholena shows Fievel the village's wampum, or when Wulisso is seen explaining their agricultural techniques to Dr. Dithering.

Although they possess weapons such as spears and tomahawks, the Lenape are pacifists and show a reluctance to inflict harm on others. For example, when Scuttlebutt is caught stealing from the clan, they detain him but take no further action, and he is allowed to leave when his companions depart. Later, when the NYPD invades, the Lenape fend them off with thrown produce rather than resort to their weapons.

Amongst themselves, the Lenape mice speak the same language as their human counterparts, though certain members of the clan have learned English in order to communicate with visitors, and they are known to use a writing system which consists of pictograms. They place great value on their heritage, referring to a wampum belt depicting their history as the clan's greatest treasure.

The Underground Village[]

The clan lives in a village constructed inside a large cavern beneath New York, within which they grow miniature fruits and vegetables to eat (how this is accomplished is not explained in the movie, though Wulisso can be seen explaining their methods to Dr. Dithering). They typically live in small houses constructed from bark, similarly to their human counterparts in pre-Columbian times. A series of ropes and pulleys has been established which allows the Lenape to easily transport baskets of food to different parts of the cavern; these baskets can also be used to carry people.

There are several passages that connect the village to the surface. One such passage led to the Beach Pneumatic Transit system, though this was destroyed by Fievel Mousekewitz following the NYPD's attack on the village. The passage was protected by a number of booby traps designed to ward off intruders; falling hot coals triggered by a pressure pad, rows of swinging hammers, a treadmill with spikes, automated arrows which shoot from a pillar, and rotating blades with mouse skulls on top. These booby traps could be bypassed by pressing a red paw located on the painting near the entrance, which would open a safer route to the village. Another passage is shown to connect to a statue in Central Park. It is unclear whether or not this passage was protected by similar measures.

Gallery[]


Trivia[]

  • The Lenape mice are omitted from The Mystery of the Night Monster, but a possible picture of the wampum is seen on a newspaper clipping that reads "Mice Finds Treasure". Unfortunately, the picture in detail is not clear.
    • This is technically irrelevant to the point because the Lenape underground cave was since collapsed by the gunpowder bomb as the Lenape mice exiled to a secret location since they are not ready to share with the Europeans. Which means it is impossible for the workers of the Daily Nibbler to visit the Lenape cave that was destroyed and have the picture of the wampum posted on the clipping, which may have been destroyed in the cave.
An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island
Characters Papa MousekewitzMama MousekewitzTanya MousekewitzFievel MousekewitzYasha MousekewitzTigerTony ToponiCholenaChief WulissoLenape MiceMr. ToploftyMr. GraspingMr. O'BloatChief McBrusqueScuttlebuttDr. Dithering
Locations New YorkLes Club Des Grands FromagesCheese Factory
Songs We Live in ManhattanAnywhere in Your DreamsFriends of the Working Mouse
Advertisement