Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation addresses the National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference at Mohegan Sun on the Mohegan Reservation in Connecticut on June 15, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Environment | Law

Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp

The Ramapough Lunaape Nation is claiming victory after a judge in New Jersey dissolved a restraining order affecting the tribe's prayer camp.

The Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp was hit with a closure order after officials in the town of Mahwah said the teepees and other structures there were illegal. But a judge said the town failed to prove that the tribe was causing “imminent and irreparable harm” to the community, according to news reports.

Still, the battle is not over. The tribe technically does not have permission to maintain the camp so it is asking the town for a variance that recognizes the religious nature of the site.

"We have been under siege daily, for violations of everything you can imagine," Chief Dwaine Perry told fellow tribal leaders at the National Congress of American Indians conference last week. He said the tribe's wealthy neighbors are the source of complaints against the camp, which was erected last October.

The tribe owns the 14-acre site in question but is not afforded any authority over the land. The state has denied the existence of any Indian nations within its borders despite doing so in the past.

The camp's name comes from Ramapough, which means "sweet water" in the Munsee language, according to the tribe.

Read More on the Story:
Judge strikes down restraining order against Ramapoughs (The Bergen Record 6/19)
Judge throws out restraining order against Ramapoughs in teepee dispute (NJ Advance Media 6/19)
Judge Sides With Ramapoughs, Lifts Restraining Order Regarding Teepees At Prayer Site (Mahwah Patch 6/19)

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Ramapough Lunaape Nation denied permit for anti-pipeline camp (April 20, 2017)