butterfly story

Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that the land on which we stand is the ancestral territory of the Lenape People. We pay respect to Indigenous people throughout the Lenape diaspora- past, present, and future- and honor those that have been historically and systemically disenfranchised. We also acknowledge that Rutgers University, like New Jersey and the United States as a nation, was founded upon the exclusions and erasures of Indigenous peoples.  We recognize and honor the continued presence of Indigenous communities in New Jersey including the  Ramapough Lenape Nation , the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation , and the Powhatan Renape Nation.


This exhibit contains digitized historical materials.  We want to acknowledge that some content displayed in this exhibit contains images and language that are offensive by today's standards, including racist and hateful attitudes towards the Ramapough Lunaape people and other marginalized communities. We openly reject these biased views.  We recognize that these viewpoints illustrate the perspectives of their time, and such stories cannot be erased when providing a truthful history.  It is necessary  to fully understand this history in order to understand the present.  


Chief Vincent Mann , Turtle Clan Chief, Ramapough Lunaape Nation

Wayne Mann , Ramapough Lunaape Nation

Vivian Milligan , Ramapough Lunaape Nation

Michaeline Picaro , Ramapough Lunaape Nation

Jan Barry , The Record, “Toxic Legacy” Reporter

Dr. Eric Johnson , Postdoctoral Research Affiliate, Harvard

Dr. Chuck Stead , Environmental Studies, Ramapo College

Wenke Taule , Former Ringwood Mayor, Ringwood CAG

Dr. John Kuo Wei Tchen , The Public History Project, Rutgers University, Newark

Dr. Judith Zelikoff , Environmental Medicine Lab, NYU


Dr. Anita Bakshi , Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture


Edwin Gano , Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture

Jessica MacPhee , Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture

Diana Randjelovic , Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture

Barbra Walker , Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture

Lydia Zoe , Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture


Anna Forsman , Rutgers University, Human Ecology

Christina Gonzalve , Rutgers University, Human Ecology

Kathleen Hammerdahl , Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture

Brigitte Schackerman , Rutgers University, Human Ecology

Jenna Scheck , Rutgers University 

For many years the Ramapough Lunaape Nation has been fighting for justice, for their land to be remediated, and for treatment of illnesses they believe are connected to contaminated soil and water. Because of their efforts, Ringwood Mines/Landfill became a Superfund site in 1983. The community was once again instrumental in getting the site relisted in 2006 when it was discovered that an incomplete cleanup had taken place. Today they continue to struggle to bring attention to the remaining contaminants; to protect their homes, lands and heritage; and to protect waterways that connect all residents of New Jersey. Many thanks are due to the individuals who shared their stories, family photographs, home movies, and memories. The Ramapough are known as the “Keepers of the Pass,” guardians of the passageway through the mountain, and of the rivers and valley. They continue this role today.

This work has been made possible by an Incubation Grant, Action Grant, and COVID-19 Response PS Grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Additional support was provided by the Rutgers University Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice. This project originated in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University with the 2018 design studio project: “Marking Environmental Losses: Building Beyond Elegy.”