Automotive Toxic Wastes On Native American Reservations Near New York City
US History, Industrialization, and Results
The Ramapough Nation is dying on their New Jersey lands from toxic pollutant related dumps made by the automotive sector of industry. The toxins raise the risk of cancers among these Native Americans by thousands of percent.
Consider tobacco smoking. Not every one that smokes contracts cancer. In fact, most peope that smoke do not contract cancer, but smoking in the presence of smog or diesel or gasoline engine fumes long-term increases the smoker's risk of cancer by 8,000%(NIH, 1993). The toxic wastes dumped onto the lands of the Rampoughs are consistently more powerful than that figure and have been dumped long-term. Eventually, the toxins seep down into the water supply. They are ingested, cause diseases and conditions, and result in death.
During the rise of Industrialism in Europe and America in the 1800s, writers (e.g. Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis; film Metropolis) warned the public about the dangers of increasing work-related stress and the dehumanization of people in the quest for industrial superiority, power, and money. Work-related illnesses soon became evident in diseases other than mental illnesses that were predicted by literature.
Examples of recent films targeting the problem is Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action , with another more recent film being Mann Vs. Ford , an HBO documentary. Wayne Mann is the Director of the Edison Wetlands Association outside New York in Plainfield NJ and is concerned that the native lands and possibly some others are affected by the toxic wastes dumped on Ramapough Mountain Tribe's reservation. This is the most current of a long line of events dating back to 1955 and the Eisenhower Administration.
- Ramapough Lunape Nation
A nation of 5,000 people related to the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederation and Algonquian language groups.
- Ringwood Toxic Waste Dump Updates
Ford Motor Company has been working closely with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to follow up on cleanup activities...
- Ramapo Mountain State Forest | New York-New Jersey
The forest, which includes wild lands in the municipalities of Oakland, Pompton Lakes, Ringwood and Wanaque, borders Ringwood State Park and the Ramapo Valley County Reservation.
Cancer Incidence for Ramapo, Rockland County, 2004-2008
IN RAMAPO NY 2004 - 2008
Colon, rectal, and pulmonary cancers for males and females are high in incidence rates (number of cases per 100,000 people). Breast cancer in females and prostate cancer in males are even higher than these, but both near the national average. Thyroid cancer in females and Kidney/Urinary cancers in both males and female are high. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are also high, but significantly higher in males than females.
In 2008, the incidence rates for all cancers nationally were based on sample cities of (San Francisco, Connecticut, Detroit, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, Seattle, Utah, and Atlanta).
For All Cancers:
- All Males: 553.28 per 100K compared to 506.9 per 100K (avg 2004-08) for Ramapo Males (Higher on average across the nation rather than in Ramapo)
- All Females: 405.99 per 100K compared to 438.8 per 100K (avg 2004 -08) for Ramapo Females (significantly higher in Ramapo)
Thyroid Cancers at Ramapo among females was much higher than the nation, at 34.3 per 100K compared to 19.39 per 100K. For males, the incidence was only 2 more per 100K.
Non-Hodgsons Lymphomas were also significantly different from national to Ramapo figures.
- All Males: 24.66 per 100K, Ramapo Males: 34.1 per 100K
- All Females: 16.58 per 100K, Ramapo Females: 19.7 per 100K.
The case can be made that some cancers occur with higher incidence in Ramapo than on national average, attributable to the toxic paint sludge that remains in the lands and water table use dby the Native Americans that live there.
Toxic Waste in A Civil Action
While Erin Brockovich was a worthwhile film, A Civil Action perhaps did more to ingrain a hard hitting urgency to the matter of toxic waste poisons on people. I think it also accomplished more in presenting real frustrations - even depression - among attorneys attempting to fight big corporate polluters. Yet, both an effective films and believable.
Only a hint is given in either film that a small part of the American pubic may wish for toxic pollution to continue in certain areas in order to eradicate sectors of society against they are prejudiced. Just as we have newspaper editorials today loudly blaming "old people" and their Social Security Retirement for ruining the finances of America, we have other voices decrying Blacks, Hispanics, and "Indians" for even existing - still, in the 2010s. It is little wonder that some of our numbers are becoming urban hermits, just wishing to be left alone in a room with a hobby.
Some of the current pollution problems affecting the Ramapoughs come from a Ford assembly factory in Wahwah NJ that dumped thousands of tons of paint sludge into 900 acres of land and ground water for 25 years from 1955 to 1980, with more cleanup needed in the 2010s (see links above).
The Native American group is known by racial slurs, rather than their name, are not federally recognized. They have little success gaining help to prevent dying early from painful cancers. Unfortunately, some voices simply want to let them die. They are sneeringly called Jackson Whites, referring perhaps to intermarriage with Caucasians and Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act, accompanied by the fact that this Ramapough group was finally not forced to go west. Another Jackson was reportedly a sea captain and a pimp that provided Ramapough women to British soldiers and officers in Manhattan during the Colonial Era. The name is derrogatory in both senses and a good portion of the group's 5,000 people are affected still by the toxic paint dump.
An Environmental Petition
- Environment Petition: Protect the Ramapough Mountain Indian TribeClean Up the Ringwood Superfund Sit
Thank you to the Hubber, Earth Angel, for sending this link to me of a petition that will help end the toxic exposure and death for the Ramapough people. Thank you.
The Ramapough Mountain Indians, actually part of a larger Lenape Nation, are affected by past and possibly future toxic waste dumping, but are not recognized by the US Federal Government, thus receive no benefits. This is the case with their neighbors, the Traditional Mohawk Nation. Between two Mohawk groups, only the smaller is recognized by the national government, receives benefits, and operates a ca$ino near the NY/Ontario border. Conflict between Mohawk groups, reservation law enforcement, and state police is fairly constant. The Ramapoughs are similarly not recognized by the national government, but were both recognized by New Jersey and New York by 1980.
The Ramapough did receive a payout settlement from Ford after 2006, but the largest amount any one person received was about $34,000 and not enough to pay medical bills for cancer. The auto company may win a case to continue to use native lands for paint dumping in the 2010s and this is a tragedy to both the people and the scenic countryside. Native animals and native plants are also harmed by the toxic pain sludge. Ford continues to work on sludge removal.
This entire toxic exposure situation is one of ingratitude and disrespect to the descendants of some of the Native Americans that fought in the Continental Army against the British during the American Revolution. Some call it genocide. Clean, non-poisoned water and food is a right of all people in America.