On the 400th anniversary to the very DAY of Hudson
sailing up the river that now bears his name, a huge lawsuit is taking
place against the Governor of NJ, his administration, and the NJ
Commission on Indian Affairs by the last surviving intact tribe of the
very first people Hudson encountered on the shores of NJ.
To get everyone up to speed here, in February, the Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians filed a
major lawsuit charging the Corzine Administration with acts of genocide
because of a pattern of actions on the part of the NJ Commission on
Indian Affairs that appear designed to remove all mention of the Sand
Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians from existence. This is
despite the fact that historians and even Smithsonian reports from the
1940's prove the existence of the Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee
Indians as the oldest indigenous tribe in the state.
Although the lawsuit was filed in February against the state
and all 21 counties in NJ, many of the defendants blew it off and
ignored it - missing the deadline to respond. The judge in Newark gave
the defendants an extension to respond. She also gave the Sand Hills a
chance to amend their first complaint, which was done in May. The State
and the Counties then filed motions to dismiss. The filing on August
21, is the tribe's response to the Motions to Dismiss.
The following documents were just filed in August by the Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians.
This epic tale of stolen identity reminds me of that movie The Net. NOBODY else is covering this story.
1600 - Estimated 8,000 Population of Delaware Indians - an Algonquin
Tribe, located in what is now NJ, NY, PA, DE (American Indian Almanac)
September 12, 1609 - Henry Hudson sails up the River and meets the "Indians" here.
Approx. 1700 - First Cherokee migrations occur into New Jersey
August 12, 1758 - the NJ Colonial Legislature and Governor
Bernard, under direction of British Crown, passes a law setting aside
3,044 acres of land for Brotherton Reservation - the first and only
Indian Reservation in New Jersey, for the Raritan-Lenape (now known as
the Sand Hill Band) to be held for them in perpetuity.
1802 - The Lenape-Cherokee of NJ, later known as the New Jersey
Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians, have to leave Brotherton
reservation. They relocate to other locations inside the state but
remain inside NJ.
1830 - Ancestors of Ani Tsalagi Onaselagi establish Cherokee tribe in NJ.
1844 - State of NJ FINALLY ratifies its constitution.
1900 - Chief Beeler's grandmother, Sarah Holloway is born in
Monmouth County into the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and
1920's - A significant segment of the New Jersey Sand Hill Band
of Lenape and Cherokee Indians community relocates to Passaic and
Sussex Counties. This includes Chief Beeler's grandmother, Sarah
1930 - Sam Beeler's mother, Roemena Ali, is born to Sarah
Holloway of the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee
1948 - The Smithsonian Annual Report page 414, specifically
mentions "The Sand Hill Indians" as an INDIGENOUS tribe to NJ ("settled
before the Revolutionary War") and that the tribe relocated from the
Monmouth area within the last 30 years and that their "Indian
traditions and arts have survived among this group to the present
1949 - Chief Ryers Crummel with New Jersey Governor Alfred
Driscoll recognize the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee
Indians at the Trenton State Fair.
1950 - Sam Beeler is born in Paterson into the New Jersey Sand
Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians. He is the Grandson of Sarah
Holloway and son of Roemena Alli. The birth certification is signed by
James "Lone Bear" Revey from the New Jersey Indian Office in Orange,
1990 - Native American Grave and Repatriation Act.
1998 - Chief Lone Bear Revey dies, Dr. Sam Beeler becomes Chief of the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians.
2000 - Darius J. TwoBears Ross is installed as Principal Chief of the Ani Tsalagi Onaselagi Northeastern Band.
June 21, 2006 - The Neptune Sand Hill Indian Historical
Association Newsletter describes Dr. Sam Beeler's work as Chairman of
the Tribal Council of the Sand Hill Band of Indians in Paterson and
references a permanent exhibit of artifacts to be on display in
Paterson, narrated by Chief Revey. At a Nov 2007 Commission meeting
and again in Sept, 2008, the Director of the Association will deny even
knowing who Sam Beeler is despite photos to the contrary.
September 14, 2006 - In a letter to Sam Beeler, Chief/Chairman
of the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians,
Governor Jon Corzine states he doesn't have the ability to "verify any
entity's American Indian Tribe claim."
December 28, 2006 - Chief Beeler of the New Jersey Sand Hill
Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians writes to Chairman Pierce of the
Commission requesting a meeting with the Commission to rectify their
exclusion from representation on the Commission.
August 2007 - Chief Darius TwoBears Ross of the Ani Tsalagi
Onaselagi (the Cherokee tribe which had established itself in NJ in
1830, just before the Trail of Tears) tries to make an appointment to
discuss issues with Corzine that could possibly have ramifications for
the State. Corzine's office is non-responsive.
November, 2007 - Chief Ross of the Ani Tsalagi Onaselagi meets
with Secretary of State Nina Wells, to rectify the situation that his
tribe has been left off the Indian Commission. Chief Ross learns that
a report has been written regarding Native Americans. Neither the Ani
Tsalagi nor the Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians, who are
the Grandfather Tribe of all tribes in NJ, were ever asked for input.
Chief Ross further learns that the report leaves out more than 50,000
Indians. Secretary of State Wells Chief Ross not to go to the press
until he sees the report. Chief Ross agrees not to go to the Press but
put contacted the Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians.
December 10, 2007 - Chief Holloway, as Director of the
NJ Indian Office, writes to Chairman Pierce of the Commission
threatening legal action if the Commission continues to ignore the
pleas of the New Jersey Indian Office.
January, 2008 - The official report is published, and it
completely omits mention of the Sand Hill and Ani Tsalagi. It
inaccurately lets the Nanticoke (who came from MD/PA in 1975) and the
Powhatan (who came from VA in 1975) claim pieces of these two tribes'
history for their own.
January 10, 2008 - Chief Ross writes a letter to Corzine,
because the Corzine administration is denying the tribe's existence and
February 9, 2008 - Chief Ross writes a letter to Secretary of
State Nina Wells, explaining that a statement will be read into the
record at the February 20, 2008 meeting of the Commission.
February 13, 2008 - Governor Corzine writes to Chief Ross, brushing off Chief Ross's concerns.
February 27, 2008 - Commission Chairman Pierce, of the
Nanticokes, writes a letter to Chief Ross on Nanticoke letterhead
acknowledging that Chief Ross's statement had been read at the
Commission meeting. However, no record of that statement ever appeared
in the minutes.
March 6, 2008 - Chief Ross writes to Chairman Pierce because
Pierce appears to be shifting blame for the treatment of the tribe to
the Commission rather than himself. Chief Ross points out that
Pierce's letter is on Nanticoke letterhead. Chief Ross is uncertain as
to whether Chief Pierce is speaking as Chief of the Nanticoke or as
Chairman of the Commission and asks for clarification.
May 6, 2008 - Chief Ross of the Ani-Tsalagi Onaselagi
Northeastern Band, and Chief Holloway of the New Jersey Sand Hill Band
of Lenape and Cherokee Indians, write a joint letter from the NJ Indian
Office to Senate President Codey, explaining their complaints and
June 17, 2008 - NJ Native American historian John T. Kraft writes a letter to verify former Chief Sam Beeler's claim.
July 1, 2008 - NJ Native American Historian Raymond Whritenour writes a letter to verify former Chief Sam Beeler's claim.
July 31, 2008 - Doreen Scott of the NJ Commission on American
Indian Affairs writes letter inviting the Sand Hill Band to give a
Sept 17, 2008 - When many members of the Ani Tsalagi and the
Sand Hill tribes appear at the Commission meeting for the presentation,
it is no longer on the agenda. The Commission then spends ten minutes
objecting to former Chief Sam Beeler (closest living descendant of the
oldest Lenape remains yet found in NJ) and Chairman Yonaguska Holloway
giving the presentation they had been invited for.
Sept 26, 2008 - Chief Ross and Chief Holloway write to Governor
Corzine, requesting seats on the Commission, after two members of the
NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs resign.
October 5 - 2008 - Chief Holloway requests the presentation with the Commission, which had been prevented earlier.
February 17, 2009 - the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and
Cherokee Indians files a lawsuit in Trenton. The charge is genocide: a
pattern of actions designed to eradicate the existence of the oldest
indigenous tribe in NJ.
Many diaries have been written about this on bluejersey.com, the only place on the web besides Native American sites and SecretNJ that is actually covering this story.
Interview with Chairman Ronald Yonaguska Holloway:
In the meantime, funding was cut for the museum and Indian
office that the Sand Hill had operated since the 1950's, and veteran's
and retirement benefits for tribe members who had been in the Military
or worked for the government were also mysteriously cut. It appears
to be an act of retribution against the tribe for speaking up about
their mistreatment and the lawsuit.
Diary about the apparent retaliation against the tribe see:
This will be the ONLY place you will find all the information regarding this lawsuit.
Once you understand the full implications of this lawsuit, you will understand exactly why we believe this is the number one most important political story in NJ. Aside from the fact that it is timed while NJ is currently celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson meeting the Lenape right here.
The fact that a lawsuit charging genocide against a sitting Governor during a hotly contested gubernatorial race is going completely unreported, should make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. What else are they not telling us?