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June 25 Lecture: Ramapough-Lenape Indian Nation and Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp

Representatives from the Mahwah-based Indian nation visit on Jun. 25 to discuss the tribe’s history in New Jersey and struggles for autonomy today

Hoboken, N.J. – June 16, 2017 – The Hoboken Historical Museum is pleased to welcome two representatives, Owl and Two Clouds, from the Ramapough-Lenape Indian Nation to speak about their history and the significance of their Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp in Mahwah, NJ. The talk will take place at the Museum, 1301 Hudson St., on Sunday, June 25, at 4 pm, and admission is free.

The Ramapough are descendants of the once-vast nation of indigenous Lenape people whose ancestral lands included the western banks of the Hudson River where Hoboken now sits, and whose language gave rise to the city’s name, a Dutch interpretation of “Hopoghan Hackingh,” or “Land of the Tobacco Pipe,” for the abundant green-colored serpentine rock used to carve pipes for smoking tobacco.

Recognized as an official indigenous nation by the state of New Jersey, the tribe has struggled to secure federal recognition, due to opposition from the casino industry. Today, the tribe estimates, there are between 1,000 and 3,000 Ramapoughs in the area and as many as 4,000 nationally. The group owns land in Mahwah that was deeded to them by a developer about 30 years ago, which it uses for ceremonial and educational activities.

In October 2016, they formed the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp in Mahwah, named after the sacred Split Rock site that lies nearby within the mountains of northeastern New Jersey. “Sweet water” is the Lenape meaning for “Ramapoo” (currently spelled as Ramapough). For generations, members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation have regarded Split Rock as a sacred site of worship and reflection, a tradition that is kept alive today. The Prayer Camp in Mahwah was formed in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, to educate the public on the impending crises of the oil and natural gas pipelines that threaten the local water supply in the region.

About the Hoboken Historical Museum

Founded 1986, the Museum’s mission is to educate the public about Hoboken’s history, diverse culture, architecture and historic landmarks. In 2001, the Museum moved into one of the oldest buildings on the waterfront, in the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard, at 1301 Hudson St., Hoboken, where it maintains a series of rotating exhibits. The Museum is open six days a week, 2–7pm on Tuesday–Thursday, 1–5pm on Fridays, and noon–5pm on weekends. It offers special exhibits, tours, events and lectures, as well as educational programs for adults and children on a weekly basis. An updated schedule of events and an online catalog of many items in its collections are available at The Museum is a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)3 entity.