Chief Mann is the Turtle Clan Chief of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, which encompasses Passaic County NJ, Warwick, and surrounding areas in New York. Chief Mann has held the title of Turtle Clan Chief for approximately twelve years. For the past five years, he has worked with the NYU Environmental Studies department. In that time, he participated in the construction and implementation of a community health survey focused on identifying and addressing health concerns within his community. To honor Chief Mann’s efforts to shed light on his community’s efforts to fight back after the Ford toxic dumping, he was awarded the Russ Berry Foundations highest award of Unsung Hero.
Chief Mann has been at the forefront of the New Jersey environmental justice movement, where he has worked to protect the water supply of 4 million people and advocated for the community living in close proximity to the Ringwood mines superfund site. He has served on the Legacy Council of the Highlands Coalition and the Ringwood mines superfund site’s Citizen Advisory Group (CAG). His efforts have been documented in the recent publication Our Land, Our Stories: Excavating Subterranean Histories of Ringwood Mines and the Ramapough Lunaape Nation. This collaborative publication was developed through Chief Mann’s partnership with the Rutgers-Newark Price Institute and Anita Bakshi, Professor of the Landscape Architecture Program at Rutgers New Brunswick.
Chief Mann is a frequent speaker in the Ramapo College Environmental Masters Program, where he lectures on issues of pipelines and environmental justice. In 2016, Chief Mann was invited to speak at the University of Dayton, Ohio on a forum that focused on the community impacts of toxic dumping. Most recently, in February 2020, Chief Mann was the keynote speaker for the Watershed Conference held on the Delaware River in Lambertville, NJ. Alongside these speaking engagements, Chief Mann has given multiple Land Acknowledgements throughout New Jersey and New York City and has helped develop multiple restoration projects within the Ramapough community. In particular, Chief Mann helped launch the renovation of a Historic Native American Church within his community, founded by Samuel Defreese, a Ramapough.
Currently, Chief Mann is working on co-creating the United Lunaapeewak. This project is broadly focused on issues of cultural restoration and the construction of a permanent educational center for the greater citizens of New Jersey and Southern New York. He is also working on co-creating an organic farm, known as the Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Garden. The prayer behind this is to create local jobs and, more importantly, to bring back food sovereignty to his Clan. As an advocate for cultural and environmental issues, he continues to this day to offer up prayers for humanity and for our natural environment.