Leaders Seek To End 'Social Divide Between The Two Mahwahs'

Group is asking for suggestions on how to help build up relationship between Ramapough tribe and the rest of the township; ideas so far include a wet down or community BBQ

This September, leaders of two distinct communities within Mahwah are planning to try to forge a connection between them.

According to Ramapough Lenape Nation Chief Dwayne Perry, the divide between the 75-100 native people who live primarily on Stag Hill Road, and the rest of the township, has a deep history. “What we need now is for people on both sides to start a dialogue with each other. For a lot of reasons, you have people on both sides who are mistrusting, and in some cases disrespectful, toward one another. We want to start to break that down.”

"In some ways, it is like Mahwah vs. Mahwah, and we don't need to have the two Mahwahs. We are all a community."

Perry, Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet and several Stag Hill residents are planning a round table discussion next month that they say will attempt to repair the divide between the two social groups.

The group plans to brainstorm ways to promote positive interactions between people on both sides. Some ideas that have surfaced already include:

  • A community barbeque sponsored by and held at the Ramapough tribal office on Stag Hill Road
  • A wet down party for a new Company 5 fire truck. Co. 5 is located on Stag Hill Road.
  • A sports-related event or gathering (like a recreational game or youth baseball event) held at the park and field on Stag Hill Road

Laforet said the few ideas the group has come up with so far are a start, but that the round table will be trying to find ways to re-introduce the communities to one another. “We see that there is a problem here, which is why we want to open up a dialogue about it,” he said. “There is a social divide between these two communities. We are trying to bridge that gap, but we need help figuring out how to do it.”

The group is in the midst of setting up a roundtable tentatively scheduled for mid-September. Before the meeting, they want to solicit ideas for events or other functions that could be held as a way to foster positive interactions between people in both communities.

For the next week, Patch will accept suggestions either as comments on this article, or emailed to Jessica.mazzola@patch.com. The suggestions will be gathered and sent to the group for consideration at their roundtable discussion.

“This is just a beginning step, but I think the people in both communities will be a huge help in figuring out how we can better live together as a cohesive community,” Laforet said.

“We understand that some people may be reluctant to a change like this, and it is understandable because of a long history,” Perry said. “But that needs to be overcome.”

Send your suggestions for ways to bridge the social divide between the Ramapough Lenape tribe and the rest of Mahwah to Jessica.mazzola@patch.com, or leave them as comments on this article.

Leaking Ink August 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I hope you'll include Dr. George Leib (Psychiatrist) who has lived and conducted his business on Stag Hill Road for many, many years. I'm sure he could add some insight and suggestions as to how to get the two groups to be more cohesive.
dave dovermann August 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Just saying that there are two groups is divisionary? Let’s pit Condos owners against Stick home owners too! Wait, we've done that! By the way, how many Stag Hill people came this week to help clean up their area? I’m just saying…
john vanblarcom August 17, 2012 at 01:54 PM
A Ramapough Lenape museum in the down town area....We all know education starts with children...Local field trip for the elementary classes? Introduce a long proud heritage.
Charles Carreras August 17, 2012 at 02:27 PM
The Mahwah Museum is planning an exhibit called "The Neighborhoods of Mahwah" to open in Fall 2013. We very much want to include the history of all of our diverse communities and look forward to working with everyone. Commenters should know that we have a standing exhibit about general Lenape history which visiting school children enjoy.
Princess Diane August 17, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Mahwah is one community on the map, so when how did it become two communities. Mahwah's school administration, BOE members, teachers, should be included in the round table on issues concerning RLN. That will be a big step. The division in Mahwah needs to be addressed. It does exist, on many levels.
Mahwah Rules! August 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM
How were condo owners pitted against stick home owners? I'm just asking...
Princess Diane August 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM
The town connected her with the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization (MEVO) and volunteers from the Ramapough Lenape Nation. I'm just saying...
Princess Diane August 17, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Ramapough Chief Dwayne Perry, who attended the event with Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet and a team of about a dozen native volunteers.
Suzy August 17, 2012 at 04:05 PM
What about the divide between West Mahwah/Cragmere/Fardale/Rio Vista? It seems like each section is a town unto itself. It as though every section is a 'bubble' and no one wants to venture out of their bubble - they have no idea what is going on in the rest of Mahwah.
dave dovermann August 17, 2012 at 04:17 PM
More Condos = more Children = more schools = more taxes. You must be new in town not to know that history. Welcome to my world.
dave dovermann August 17, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Rio Vista, isn't that it's own Town with special speed limits and speed bumps?
ref August 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Why not have a booth at Mahwah day that shows all aspects of our community,and how all the sections of town were named,just because its the stag hill section of town does not mean its a seperate community,I for one have a lot of friends that live in that part of town and quite frankly am unaware of any problems,If i may I would like to correct the mayor on his comment "People of both communties",Sir we only have one community in one town,however we do have different named sections of our town..
Mahwah Rules! August 17, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Understood. And if since 2007 is new, then yes, I'm new.
MahwahMan August 17, 2012 at 08:03 PM
If the mayor is involved I'm sure he'll mess this up. I mean look how well he did with recycling outsourcing and the ambulance corps. Great record Mr. Mayor. Oh wait...can you hear that? That's the sound of election day. Let me know if you need any packing peanuts or boxes.
Ramapough Indian Concerned August 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Mr. Perry has been CHIEf for how long? It seems a little ironic he contacts patch and voices publically he wants to work with Mr. laforet. Has the Ramapoughs who live on Staghill rd. Contacted Mr. perry or Mr. Laforet about conerns over this Mahwah vs. Mahwah divide. Six years have gone by and their has been no outreach. Actually Mr. Laforet calked the tribal office last year and no one even returned his call. This is a sad political move. If their is any divide its within ourselves as a tribe. My suggestion get rid of the current administration inc. Mr. Perry. Maybe Mr. Laforet can elabirate on the land deal being negotiated with tribal leadership. Yes you heard me right. It seems Mr. laforet will say anything to get some votes... By the way their is only one Mahwah...Maybe being from Hillburn Mr. Perry does not know that...Politics...
Ramapough Indian Concerned August 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM
living on the mountain, aka Stag Hill I have not contacted Mr. Perry. He has had a long animosity towards Ramapoughs living on Stag Hill inc members in his administration. When he was reelected as tribal Chief me and many others were outraged and saddened. Some of us went as far as with drawing our tribal status until he is ousted. He does not give a rats A.. About Ramapoughs living on And off Stag hill rd. He is a fear monger Mr. Laforet needs votes. However we need a new Mayor and yes Ramapoughs a new tribal council and chief.
Ramapough Indian Concerned August 17, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Someone is working on a museum. However it will be in Suffern. Ironically the visionary for this project is waiting for a new tribal administration to move forward. If any other ramapoughs are following these blogs. Lets get our tribe back. You know what I mean.... If we have issues we will be able to work with the next new mayor. We do not have to politisize it..
Ramapough Indian Concerned August 18, 2012 at 12:59 AM
How come my other comments were not posted..
Ramapough Indian Concerned August 18, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Thank you Tom Dunn And Charlie Carreres for your intrest in preserving Lenape history in Mahwah and specifically highlighting William Mann A civil war soldier and Ramapough Indian. I understand you worked with an individual Ramapough not the current chief or council. I encourage future administration to work with the Mahwah museum on future endeavors and to visit their current displays. Their staff brings out the best of Mahwah and we need to support them.
Woodears August 20, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Perhaps Mr.Perry is the wrong man to speak for the Mahwah people,as he is not even a resident,nor in good standing with a great many of the Stag Hill residents.Not long ago,he initiated a lawsuit against them in order to create a division amongst the tribal members.How can he possibly be a person to end division while creating such within the tribe.?
SHP August 22, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I think maybe more people need to get involved an help out instead of talking junk
SHP August 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I can say this.. FOR A FACT> RLN has helped me an many others. I think you dont no what your talking about
Andy Schmidt August 30, 2012 at 09:47 PM
I think people working side-by-side helps creating comradery. I'm sorry that I had to miss the MEVO sponsored clean-up. But considering the sorry state of the park land near the old milk farm and the AWD-abused woods roads, like the ones leading to Bear Swamp, I image a family oriented "activity-day on the hill" on a Saturday which includes the ability to participate in a clean-up, with the DPW supplying equipment and dumpsters. Since biking is not permitted in the county park, blaze 3 different hiking/walking trails in the area for that day - a short circuit for families with small children, a medium one for casual walkers and a longer one for families with teenage kids. Towards the later afternoon, let the Rec Department conclude the day with some sort of picnic at a suitable location, where the RLN can offer presentations/demonstrations relevant to their culture. Maybe there could be ways for visitors to "join in". If there is a divide, then it can only help if perception (on the part of some Mahwah residents) is replaced with (positive) first hand personal experience that it's quite alright to go to the Stag Hill neighborhood. Our young kids go to school together without caring/knowing on which street someone lives...


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