On Thursday, May 18, 2017, members of Bronx Climate Justice North joined hundreds of other allies in support of the Ramapough Lenape Nation at a hearing of the Township of Mahwah, NJ. BCJN Coordinator Jennifer Scarlott read the following statement:
BCJN STANDS WITH THE RAMAPOUGH LENAPE NATION
My name is Jennifer Scarlott. I am the Coordinator of Bronx Climate Justice North, an organization of 150 members in the Bronx, NY who stand in active solidarity with the Ramapough Lenape Nation. We have come to this hearing to express our very deep concern about the ongoing harassment of and lawsuit against the Ramapough Lenape Nation of Mahwah, NJ.
The Ramapough Lenape Nation is legally recognized by the State of New Jersey. As such, the Nation’s sovereign rights must be protected under law. In addition, the right of the Ramapough Lenape Nation to pray and carry out lawful activities on their ceremonial land at the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp, 95 Halifax Road, in Mahwah, NJ, must be respected and protected.
The Mahwah Township lawsuit in State Court, to try to force removal of tipis and other temporary structures from land owned by the Ramapough Lenape, is wrong. Harassment of, and vandalism against the Prayer Camp is wrong. We urge that the suit be withdrawn immediately, and that the rights of the Ramapough Lenape be fully protected.
The 150 members of Bronx Climate Justice North, based in the northwest section of the Bronx in New York City, stand in active solidarity with the Ramapough Lenape Nation, in their lawful rights to their sovereign land, to their freedom of religious expression, and to their First Amendment rights to express their opposition to calamitous proposals like the Pilgrim Pipeline project which, if built, would destroy land, water, and livelihoods of the Ramapough Lenape people, and of all of the people of Mahwah and communities throughout New Jersey.
We will continue to actively support the struggle of the Ramapough Lenape Nation for respect for their sovereignty, and their religious and First Amendment freedoms. We know how thoughtful these Mahwah community members are. We strongly urge that all people in Mahwah join with their Ramapough Lenape brothers and sisters in solidarity. It is a great misfortune that rather than taking pride in the beauty and wisdom of the Ramapough Lenape Nation’s customs and actions, the Township of Mahwah is instead intent on unlawfully persecuting them. Please cease and desist, and protect their sovereign rights.
Jennifer Scarlott, Mary Hemings, Martha McClintock
Bronx Climate Justice North Steering Co. on behalf of Bronx Climate Justice North