Emily DroobyJan 25, 2018, 6:34 pm

Mahwah may take Ramapough Lenape tribe back to court

Mayor Bill Laforet claims that the town has put up structures without prior approval, but the tribe says they can do what they want on their own land

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MAHWAH — The fight over structure's on the Ramapough Lenape's property on Halifax Road is continuing, as Mayor Bill Laforet says that while the tribe has taken down their teepees, other structures remain up on the property, violating zoning laws.

The issue began in 2017 after tribe members built a teepee encampment on their 14-acre property to protest a crude-oil pipeline project in North Dakota. Soon afterwards, other structures were erected on the property. In reaction, the town issued summonses against the tribe on the grounds that they put up the structures without proper approval.

In court, the tribe argued that they had a constitutional right to have the teepees up as they are used in religious ceremonies, which was rejected by Bergen County's presiding Municipal Court Judge. However, while the teepees were taken down, Mayor Laforet says that the remaining structures are still a problem.

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