Dwaine Perry: Ramapough Lunaape Nation marches for justice

Dwaine Perry, the chief of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation, speaks at the March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 24, 2016. Photo by Americans Against Fracking / Twitter

Citing the harmful effects of toxic waste in his community, Dwaine Perry, the chief of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation, explains why he helped lead the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. Thousands of activists turned out for the event, held on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
For the Ramapough people, the impacts from dirty energy and environmental injustice are both present and painful.

Right now, in the mountains of New Jersey and New York, we live with the toxic legacy of industrial dumping. The Ford Motor Company plant in Mahwah was shuttered in 1980, but not before thousands of tons of paint sludge and other toxic materials were illegally dumped in our communities.

The results have been tragic. Cancers, skin diseases, leukemia and a lowering of mortality to just 60 years of age from 85 to 90 years of age can be directly connected to environmental injustice that was permitted by bureaucratic malfeasance and corporate greed.

As our community continues to deal with this crisis, we learned of a new threat: The Pilgrim Pipelines proposal, which would send fracked oil through our sacred homelands in the protected Highlands region. Pilgrim is proposing to cut through the very same watershed lands where Ford dumped paint sludge into the shafts of the abandoned iron mines once worked by our ancestors.

Learning from our long history of struggle against the toxic effects of environmental injustice, we are now organizing with the broader community to stop Pilgrim's dirty pipelines before they're built. We all know the dangers they present — even a small release of oil or jet fuel could contaminate the state's largest interconnected drinking water system, leaving more than half of New Jersey residents without access to clean water.

Get the Story:
Dwaine Perry: N.J. tribe chief: We're marching for environmental justice to DNC 2016 (The Newark Star-Ledger 7/22)

Also Today:
Climate activists make noise in Philly ahead of Democratic convention (Grist 7/25)
Thousands of Pro-Sanders, Anti-Fracking Marchers Hit Streets (AP 7/24)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Ramapough Lunaape Nation blames Donald Trump for lack of federal status (07/05)
Mainstream media tunes into Trump's attacks on Indian gaming (7/4)
Supreme Court pick puts some Indian law cases on questionnaire (05/11)
History: When Donald Trump belittled the Ramapough Nation (08/13)
Ramapough Lunaape Nation still working for federal recognition (08/11)
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)
Al Jazeera: Ramapough Nation demands cleanup of toxic sites (03/21)