History: When Donald Trump belittled the Ramapough Nation

Tribal flags flying at a powwow hosted by the Ramapough Lunaape Nation in New Jersey. Photo from Facebook

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leveled a familiar racial insult against the Ramapough Lunaape Nation of New Jersey back in 1995, a quip that is revived in the new American Native documentary. Former reporter Jan Barry shares the story:
Imagine that you have to prove your ethnicity when filling out a census form and myriad other forms posing that question in American society. Do you have an original document showing direct lineage from ancestors who lived in a likely distant area of the world centuries ago?

That's the seemingly impossible-to-navigate bureaucratic maze faced by members of the Ramapough Mountain Indian tribe, whose quest to prove their ethnic heritage is conveyed in "American Native," a new documentary making the rounds of film festivals and scheduled to open in theaters in September.

This film explores a gritty grass-roots effort by marginalized American citizens to reclaim a heritage denied by hostile neighbors, rumors fanned by newspapers, and government officials parroting the self-interested howls of casino moguls.

These backwoods folks were mocked by Donald Trump, long before he heckled fellow candidates for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Belittling the Ramapoughs' request to be recognized as a Native American Indian tribe by the federal government, which might potentially gain standing to open a casino closer to New York City than his gambling palaces in Atlantic City, Trump announced on a popular New York radio show — revived in this film — "I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of these so-called Indians."

Get the Story:
Jan Barry: Focusing on Ramapough Mountain tribe’s struggles (The Bergen Record 8/13)

Also Today:
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Donald Trump Was Also A Dirtbag To Native Americans (The Huffington Post 8/12)

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