Our second installment of Hitting the Books with CBS’s Ghosts puts the focus on everyone’s favorite storyteller, Sasappis.
[What is Hitting the Books with CBS’s Ghosts? To find out, click here. And check out our previous installment on Thorfinn.]
Played by Roman Zaragoza, Sasappis is a Lenape Native American. While the exact year of his death hasn’t been given, we know from the episode “Ghostwriter” he died during or soon after 1513.
There are a lot of great books and articles covering the history and culture the Lenape. Two that I’d recommend are Footprints in Time: A History and Ethnology of The Lenape-Delaware Indian Culture and Mythology of the Lenape: Guide and Texts. While much of the Lenape’s history, who are also called Delaware, has been lost to history due to colonization, Footprints in Time documents the areas the Lenape lived in and how their society evolved over the centuries. After the episode “Ghostwriter,” I was motivated to find a collection of Lenape stories. One of the more popular books to document these tales is Mythology of the Lenape, which gathered over 200 Lenape narratives.
The final book I’d recommend is The Grandfathers Speak: Native American Folk Tales of Lenapé People by Hitakonanu’laxk. Relevant to a discussion for a show about ghosts, Hitakonanu’laxk shared this about the Lenape:
“In our view of life, we believe in a soul that survives death. We call the soul or spirit, lenapeakan. When the heart stops, the soul has separated from the body and then we hold a person to be dead. At death, we believe that the spirit departs from the body but remains nearby.”
 Though Samantha can’t return the Hudson Valley region to the Lenape, as Sasappis requested in the second episode, there are efforts to bring pow wows and other Lenape traditions back to New York. Also, I came across this documentation of the Lenape creation myth. While reading it, I couldn’t help but imagine Sasappis giving his interpretation of this narrative.
 In 2021 Zaragoza released this video in which he uses poetry to discuss his identity. It is fantastic.
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