Victory in Protecting Effigy Mound Near Afton; NJ Town Deems Tipis “Permanent Structures” in Order to Ban Them

The City of Afton is going to reroute its planned sewage project so pipes won’t run through the Rattlesnake Effigy Mound, a sacred site for Native peoples, according to the group Protect Valley Creek.

In an online statement, it said:

The Rattlesnake Mound was a main source of concern in the initial stages of this campaign, as Afton’s plans showed several sewage pipes being drilled through its outline. It appears the hard work carried out during tribal consultation with Afton appears to be moving in the right direction—preserving the Rattlesnake Mound. Afton recently announced that it would be avoiding any construction near the main body of the mound, rerouting pipes away from the mound, and having a smaller stormwater pond! Victory!

Protect Valley Creek still raises concerns about the project, including damage to indigenous artifacts in the area where the city plans to put the sewage drainage field. Read the statement for more details.

New Jersey Town Bans Tipis on Native Land, Calling them “Permanent Structures”

Here is another story about how pipelines are a national issue and the lack of power in Native communities.

The story comes from Indian Country Media Network: Ramapough Told Tipis On Their Land Are Illegal.

Quick background: The Ramapough are a part of the Lenape Nation and live in northern New Jersey and southern New York. According to Wikipedia, the state of New Jersey recognized the tribe in 1980, but it does not have federal recognition. That means it does not have its own tribal government and laws. According to the Ramapough’s website, it is a nonprofit with a 501(c)3 status.

The news report said in October, a small group of Ramapough and local supporters set up a prayer camp on tribal land to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock — and also to oppose pipelines that threaten the Ramapough themselves.

The town of Mahwah says the camp violates a local ordinance against erecting “permanent structures” in the area, so they have to go. (Note: Mahwah is derived from the Lenape word “mawewi” which means “Meeting Place” or “Place Where Paths Meet”, according to Wikipedia.)

The municipal “heave ho” to the camp might have more do to with aesthetics than whether tipis are permanent or not. According to the town’s website, Mahwah is a pretty affluent: “It has a wide range of housing including charming Cape Cods, stately historic homes, townhouse and condominium communities and million-dollar mansions.”

The tipi is known for its ease of assembly and portability, not its permanence. (True, the tipi is associated with the Plains Indians, not East Coast nations, but as a prayer camp in solidarity with Standing Rock, a tipi makes sense.)

The Ramapough have to go to court this month “to answer to the town’s claims that tipis are permanent structures … and to contest fines for such activities as individuals using wood-burning stoves and placing mulch on a dirt path,” the story says.

Click here for full story and photos.

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