Ramapough Lunaape Nation still working for federal recognition

Ramapough tribal members singing at the drum. Photo courtesy American Native

The Ramapough Lunaape Nation of New Jersey hasn't given up hope that the tribe might one day gain federal recognition.

The tribe was one of the first to submit a petition to the Bureau of Indian Affairs back in 1979. It took nearly 20 years before the agency issued a final determination against recognition.

Appeals through the federal courts didn't convince the BIA to change course. But a new documentary, American Native, might help open people's eyes to the tribe's struggle.


The tribe was acknowledged by state lawmakers in 1980 but Gov. Chris Christie (R) claims there are no recognized tribes in New Jersey. Part of the film tracks Chief Dwaine Perry as he lobbies for a new recognition bill without success.

The film has been screened around the world and won the award for best documentary at the Manchester Film Festival. It was made for just $262,000, The New York Times reported.

Get the Story:
Documentary Explores Struggle of New Jersey’s Ramapough Tribe (The New York Times 8/9)

Related Stories
Native Sun News: Film tackles tribal recognition controversy (05/13)
Column: Telling the truth about the Ramapough Lunaape Nation (04/20)
Judge rejects Ramapough Nation defamation case against film (05/16)
Review: Zahn McClarnon shines in an otherwise drab 'Red Road' (02/27)
Review: A bumpy journey into Lunaape land with 'The Red Road' (02/26)
Writers based 'Red Road' on Ramapough Lunaape Nation (01/13)
Ramapough Nation slams film for negative portrayal of tribe (12/12)

Join the Conversation