Wolf Clan member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation of New Jersey
Tyrone “Dancing Wolf” Ellis Jr is a Wolf Clan member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation of New Jersey. His culture is a very dominant part of the life that he lives on a daily basis. He has practiced many cultural arts, such as rattle making, drum making, singing & drumming, regalia making, beadwork, etc. These many arts have been taught to him by numerous respected elders and knowledge holders amongst the tribe, including well known people such as Chief Mark “Quiet Hawk” Gould, Co-Chief Lewis “Grey Squirrel” Sonny Pierce, late grandmother Lorraine “Rainbow Walker” Gregg, Chief Urie “Fox Sparrow” Ridgeway, Will Mosley Sr., Elder Edith Pierce and so on.
Ty has been tasked with responsibilities by his tribal community through numerous committees, and has been a member of most of existing committees within the tribe’s government body. His greatest responsibility is being the tribe’s Annual Pow-Wow and Program Co-Ordinator (2013 – 2023). This responsibility describes the need to demonstrate the bulk of these arts to the public, educating them and maintaining a healthy relationship between the tribe and surrounding communities while reducing stereotypes and ignorance of Native American Culture. His arts have been demonstrated and performed for a number of organizations and locations. This includes the Annual Pow-Wow at Salem County Fairgrounds, Cohansey Zoo in Bridgeton, the Wheaton Arts Center (including a Residency program at Bridgeton Middle School for children, and performances for veteran at the Folk Life Center), Camden County Fair, West Deptford Library, Gloucester County Historical Society, and so on.
He was a recipient of the New Jersey Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant, working under the tribe’s Chief to learn the creation of both Pow-Wow Drums and Water Drums. He has since then taught and demonstrated this art to the younger generation of tribal youth and their summer camp, as well as children during the residency program hosted by Wheaton Arts.
All of these arts are very important to Ty. They are traditional teaching in which have been passed down for generations, and should continue to be passed. Otherwise, he believes they would lose their already dwindling culture, and it will officially become extinct history. Educating has become a passion.