NJ town orders tribe to take down teepees

A New Jersey tribe has put up teepees on land that is theirs but the township says the structures must come down.

The Ramapough Lenape Nation Split Rock Sweet Water prayer camp in Mahwah was denied permits from the township that would allow the group to assemble teepees and use the land for religious and cultural gatherings.

The group says the land is part of their ancestral home.  The local government says it is a conservation zone and the teepees make it a campground.

The group put up the teepees without getting the zoning permits and now have been issued summonses.

Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapough Tribe says, "From the day we put up the teepee we've been under non-stop assault by the borough, by the town of Mahwah.  What their motivation is, I don't know."

He says they should not need a permit to pray on their own land.

A judge will decide if the teepees can stay.