The historic occupants of what is now the town of Tuxedo were the Lenni-Lenape, a branch of the large Algonquian language family of Native Americans, whose different branches lived along the East Coast from Canada through the Upper South. The Lenape named the largest lake in the area Tucseto, meaning either "place of the bear" or "clear flowing water." European-American colonists later adopted that name for the town they developed.
Some Lenape stayed in villages in the Ramapo Mountains, having migrated west from Connecticut. They gradually intermarried with other ethnic groups in what was long a relatively remote frontier. They maintained a culture and community of their own in this area on both sides of the later border with New Jersey. The Ramapough Mountain Indians have been recognized by New Jersey as a Native American tribe.