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Ramapoughs Expected To Defend Use Of Ceremonial Land At Mahwah Meeting

The Ramapough Lenape Nation holds ceremonies and teachings on its ceremonial land in Mahwah.
The Ramapough Lenape Nation holds ceremonies and teachings on its ceremonial land in Mahwah. Photo Credit: Facebook: Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp

MAHWAH, N.J. – Members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation and their allies are expected to voice concerns to the Mahwah Council Thursday about a lawsuit requiring the tribe to remove structures from its ceremonial land .

In the complaint, Mahwah Township is calling for the tribe to “cease and desist all use of the property that is in violation of Mahwah’s current zoning ordinance,” according to .

Township officials claim the land off Halifax Road is being used as a campground, with teepees, tents and canvas cabins, which violates zoning law, but Ramapough Chief Dwaine Perry said he does not consider tepees to be structures, and the tribe does not plan to take them down, the report says.

Matt Smith, senior organizer with Food & Water Watch, wrote an email asking supporters to attend the meeting “in solidarity with the Ramapough Nation.”

“The camp is being used for a variety of cultural and educational gatherings, and to raise awareness about the threat to water and the environment … Food & Water Watch will join leaders of the Ramapough Nation at the Mahwah Council meeting to stand in support of the their right to religious freedom and assembly, and to support their Split Rock Sweet Water prayer camp,” Smith wrote.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at the Richard J. Martel Municipal Building, 475 Corporate Dr. in Mahwah.

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