May 18, 2017
Anakbayan New Jersey Stands in Solidarity with Ramapough Lenape Sovereign Right to Land and Religious Freedom
The youth and students of Anakbayan New Jersey steadfastly stand in solidarity with the Ramapough Lenape Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp and the Ramapough Lenape Nation’s struggle for sovereignty and religious rights on their land. As a National Democratic Filipino youth-and-student mass organization that seeks to agitate, organize, and mobilize our communities both here and in the Philippines, Anakbayan NJ recognizes that the Filipino people’s fight for liberation is intrinsically linked to the Ramapough Lenape struggle bound together by our common enemy of imperialism plaguing our people and land. The Ramapough Lenape built their camp last October to highlight their fight against the extractive oil industry and the Pilgrim Pipeline threatening their land and water in connection with the fight at Standing Rock. They have since received numerous threats, arbitrary legal violations as a ploy to displace them, and continuous harassment by the surrounding community and law enforcement.
Mahwah Township mayor Bill Laforet claims that the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp is simply just a campground—which means there are grounds to evict the Ramapough Lenape from their prayer camp because campgrounds are not allowed under Mahwah Township law. This assertion is wrong and strips the Ramapough Lenape of their right to self-determination on their own land—land that is not actually owned by Mahwah Township. The Prayer Camp is also an integral part of their spiritual life, culture, and history of resistance against groups and power structures that continue to uproot the Lenape of their way of life.This is why we call for the immediate recognition of the Ramapough Lenape’s sovereign right to their land and spiritual practices and for the removal of extractive oil industries and the state intimidation and harassment that backs them.
It is the same extraction industries from Ramapough to Standing Rock to the Philippines that continue to violently displace indigenous people from their land and destroy our natural resources. Indigenous people in the Philippines, such as the Lumad in the southern most island of Mindanao, have faced destruction of and displacement from their ancestral lands by multinational corporations which operate mining, logging, and oil extraction industries as facilitated by militarization of their communities from elements of the Armed Forces of Philippines and the paramilitary groups that they create, often from other Lumad that they threaten in surrounding towns. Their schools are attacked and red tagged because of how they empower Lumad children to protect their ancestral domain and defend their rights when multinational corporations prey on them.
The Ramapough, the Lumad, and other indigenous people throughout the Philippines share a long history of resistance to exploitation of their resources and displacement from their land. Just last month, two Lumad leaders, Jo Pagalan (KASALO-Caraga) and Dulphing Ogan (KALUMARAN Alliance of Indigenous People’s Organizations) who were here as part of a national tour to gather support for their ongoing struggle traveled to the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp to learn about and demonstrate solidarity with the resistance of the Ramapough Lenape. While they have been holding a prayer camp since October, the Lenape come from a rich and extensive history of resistance. Much like the Ramapough Lenape, indigenous peoples in the Philippines have a long, complex history of organizing against US imperialism, whether it is state harassment, legal discrimination, and multinational extractive industries.
As Anakbayan New Jersey, we call on individuals and organizations to demonstrate solidarity with the Ramapough Lenape at the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp in the following ways:
- Attend an emergency four day prayer on their ancestral lands this Friday 5/19 to Monday 5/22.
- Mobilize your organizations and allies to bi-weekly organizer meetings to support the concrete needs and vision of the Ramapough Lenape.
- Donate supplies to the camp such as zero degree sleeping bags, food donations, portable phone chargers, solar panels with batteries, pine stick fire starters, and hardwood burning wood for stoves.
- Visit the land, learn about their rich history of resistance to US imperialist exploitation, and take action to advance their struggle.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to attend the next organizer meeting, donate supplies, and/or coordinate a visit.
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!
FROM NEW JERSEY TO THE PHILIPPINES: LAND IS LIFE! WATER IS LIFE!
With ever more determination,
Anakbayan New Jersey