The Ramapough and the Ringwood Mines Superfund Site – History, Culture, Education, and Environmental Justice is a project focused on illustrating connections between scientific data, environmental remediation reports, and personal narratives of the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Ramapough Native American community living in the Ringwood Mines Superfund Site. Our Land, Our Stories, a book and an exhibition resulted from the project. With funding from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the exhibit was initially shown at the Newark Public Library, and will soon travel to Ramapo College, the Mahwah Museum, and Rutgers University.
Through these means we seek to enhance outreach and communication efforts to allow New Jersey residents to develop deeper understandings of connections to the landscape by illustrating traditions, cultural meanings, and emotions. The materials are aesthetically pleasing and visually engaging – in contrast to the manner in which much scientific data is currently presented. This project began with the ‘Marking Environmental Losses’ design studio at Rutgers University, taught by Anita Bakshi, to explore the emotional impacts of contamination on human communities and the transmission of cultural practices connected to the land. It offers an approach for advocating for environmental justice by elucidating connections between environmental, cultural, and political histories.