Emily DroobyAug 12, 2017, 9:58 pmAug 14, 2017, 10:41 am

Princeton grads gift green power cell to energy-strapped Ramapo Lenape Nation

Local Native Americans receive renewable power source for their Mahwah prayer ground

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Members of the Ramapo Lenape Nation say it's tough on the Splitrock Sweetwater Prayer Ground without power.

While they use coolers to store food and drinks, tribe members are forced to leave Splitrock Sweetwater when an electronic device dies.

But a startup comprised of Princeton University graduates has found an ecologically friendly way to give the tribe members a power source by creating an alternative power unit.

“We'll be able to power our computers and do work from the tent and the yurt," said Ramapo Lenape Chief Dwaine Perry.

For other tribe members, the donated power cell is an energy-efficient symbol of environmental friendliness that the tribe strives for.

"For me, it means that everything we say we stand for we actually stand for. We speak about being renewable and now we have renewable energy," tribe member Two Clouds said.

The 20-foot metal shipping crate uses both solar panels on the side and a wind turbine to create electricity. That electricity is then stored in batteries inside this shipping container which can then be used to provide power.

Though the crate is the first prototype that has been built, Chief Perry feels that units like this could help a lot of people in the future.

"It’s really wonderful it's not only going to enhance our quality of life here at Sweetwater but it's also exciting to think we might have a chance to impact global harmony," Chief Dwaine Perry said.

Tribe members say that, according to the town, the renewable energy unit does not require a permit but that some neighbors have been by to speak with them about it already.

There has been some controversy between them and their wealthy neighbors behind them over the property before.

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