A tepee at the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp can be seen along the banks of the Rampo River in Mahwah, New Jersey. Photo: Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp
The Ramapough Lunaape Nation might have to remove an anti-pipeline camp after officials in New Jersey rejected a permit for the activity.
Since October, the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp has served as a gathering space for opponents of the proposed Pilgrim oil pipelines. The site consists of tepees, tents and other structures, according to news reports.
But officials in the town of Mahwah issued court summonses to the tribe after neighbors complained about the comings and goings at the camp, The Bergen Record reported last December. The tribe was then given an opportunity to seek approval for the activity but the permit was just denied, the paper reported.
The tribe could be forced to remove the camp but an attorney told the paper that a request to change the use of the land will be submitted in the coming weeks.
In seeking to defeat the two Pilgrim pipelines, the tribe has been inspired by the #NoDAPL movement. Chief Dwaine Perry told The New York Times that the project will destroy his reclusive people's way of life.
“We’ll either last another thousand years,” Perry told the paper, “or get wiped out entirely.”
The tribe owns the land where the camp is located but is not afforded any type of sovereignty in New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie (R) has claimed the state does not recognize any tribes within its borders, an issue that is the subject of litigation.
Ramapough, in the Munsee language, translates to "sweet water," according to the tribe.
Read More on the Story:
Tepee summonses reinstated against Ramapough tribe
(The Bergen Record 4/20)
N.J. tribe faces fines for building tepees, report says
The Ramapoughs vs. the World
(The New York Times 4/14)