Monday, April 17, 2006

About Ramapough Mountain Indians
... Even living away from the rest of the people, as they did, they always came out to defend their country when the need arose. They have participated in every conflict this country has had, from the Revolution to Desert Storm.

And no doubt the Iraq War as well ...


I'm 45 years old--tall, blonde and female. The chance of me being shot dead by police officers at my own birthday party--drunk or not--are slim to none.

In my drinking days, I even broke sliding glass doors while arguing with my boyfriend. The police apparantly came (I remember little of it but have the scars from shattered glass to prove it) and I was told the next day I was cursing like a sailor at the cops who in turn explained to my boyfriend I had a drinking problem. I guess the thought of shooting me never crossed their minds. Heck, I didn't even go to jail!

Not so for Emil Mann. This father of three of the Ramapough Mountain Indians in New Jersey didn't fare so well. At his own birthday party, while breaking up a fight between his brother and a park officer (who was defending his daughter who had just been struck by the officer), he had to deal with, what I see as, the xenophobic, racist conditioning ingrained and imbedded within the minds of all European-heritage USers. Apparently Ramapough's tribal chief thinks so too. Calling this an unjust murder, he vowed, "This will never happen again."

He was shot by park officials who were there to razz them for using off-road vehicles--and soon died from complications. And I am angry. I hate racism. I hate the confusion it sets up in good people's minds. I hate the pain it causes those targeted. And I hate that this man had to die on April 1, 2006--the day of his 45th birthday.

His cousin said that she was told he had his hands held up asking, "What did I do?" when he was shot.

My heart goes out to his family. His wife and three sons.

I think paid leave for the park officers who shot him is like paid vacation. What a disgusting response (reward?) for the unnecessary offing of a human being!


Seems this is not the first assault on the NJ nation. Ford Motor Co. has poisoned their neighborhood and although they left they have not finished cleaning up. This has created health problems for people living there. A prime (among many) example of the intersection between racism and environmental degradation.

Damn, if I didn't just notice this article is exactly one year previous, April 1, 2005, to the shooting of Emil Mann.

Mediation Over Dump Site on the Horizon; Residents, Ford say Talks Preferred Over Lengthy Litigation,” Barbara Williams, Herald News (Passaic County, NJ), April 1, 2005. Copyright 2005 North Jersey Media Group Inc., All Rights Reserved. [“A decades-old dispute over Ford's leftover toxic waste that American Indian residents claim has caused rampant illness could be going to mediation. A Ford Motor Co. spokesman confirmed Thursday that the company has agreed to meet with residents about a possible settlement aimed at cleaning up and addressing the affects of the leftover contamination. Stephen Sheller, the attorney for the Rampough Mountain Indians who live on the 500-acre site in Upper Ringwood, said he recommended nonbinding mediation because litigation could drag on for years. He said he expects an answer from the residents within the next several days . . . . The tentative agreement over mediation came out of ongoing talks between residents' attorneys and Ford representatives, Sheller said. He stressed the importance of the time element in the considerations. All parties agree that a Superfund cleanup of a decade ago did not complete the job, and that toxic waste, including dried paint sludge and residue in rusting drums, still lies undetected in and near Ford's former industrial dump. The dump site is immediately adjacent to dozens of Ramapough Indian residences, and at least one major stream feeds into the nearby Wanaque reservoir.”]

So the toxic waste is seeping into their drinking water supply.

I found out about this from Susan on
is a link for updates.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for covering our story.

Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation

6:33 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The officer who shot Emil got 2nd degree manslaughter. He'll be going to jail for awhile..

1:55 PM PDT  

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