Select Page

New Jersey town orders Native American tribe to take down teepees

New Jersey town orders Native American tribe to take down teepees


A snobby town in New Jersey consisting of a private gated community . . . called The Polo Club . . . wrapped around a 14 acre Native American reserve,  has filed for a judgment in the State Superior Court  that will force the tribe to remove its teepees, tents and art.  The Town Manager used Orwellian double-speak to make the television viewers thinks that this is a normal power of a zoning ordinance.

To see the newscast, go to:

Horse Manure!

What The Polo Club pseudo-municipal government has done is adopt the original design guidelines of a private development as a zoning ordinance for an incorporated town in order to give it more legal teeth in the enforcement of esthetic regulations. To date, the town council has gotten away with this travesty because every property owner in their town was already subject to the private development’s guidelines . . . except the Native American tribe.   The tribe’s land has been annexed into the town, but its current use pre-dated the existence of the town.

Zoning ordinances have been strictly limited by multiple rulings of the United States Supreme Court from exercising restrictions based on esthetics.  A clearly defined process must be followed to designate a Historic District or Urban Design District.  A separate design review commission must be set up, which is composed of especially qualified members, like architects, landscape architects, artists, tree scientists, etc.  Tents, teepees and public art cannot be made subject to building use and setback restrictions, because by legal definition, they are not permanent buildings.

Furthermore,  a local government CANNOT “zone out” a pre-existing land use.   That has been ruled by the US Supreme Court.  If this artificial town tries to go down the eminent domain route,  it would have to pay the property owner, ergo, the tribe, for the lost “utility” of the land for its use as a Native American reservation.  In this case,  the value of their property would probably be based on its potential use as a upscale gated community . . . which in New Jersey would be at least $2 million.

I cannot emphasize enough that this is an entirely different situation legally than the oil line controversies out in the Dakotas.  This tribe owned that land before The Polo Club existed.  They established its current use . . . religious worship and outdoor recreation . . . before the incorporated town existed.   There is a reason why our founding fathers put in clauses within the US Constitution that protected private property rights.  They foresaw situations just like this one in New Jersey.

I also noticed that the spokesmen for this tribe were tri-racial.  This is quite common in the Middle Atlantic States and in the Carolinas.  Mixed heritage is certainly no justification for trampling private property rights, protected by the US Constitution.


Before I became an ignorant peon, self-styled historian, pseudo-archaeologist and DANGEROUS!, I had been a practicing city planning consultant for decades.  During those years I authored a legion of comprehensive plans, urban design plans and historic district guidelines for communities in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.  I prepared the first comprehensive plans for Charleston, SC,  Auburn, AL, Opelika, AL, Lee County, AL and Woodstock, VA plus the award-winning urban design plans for Midtown Atlanta, Asheville, NC and Smyrna, GA.   It has long concerned me that economic elites in the United States are trying to corrupt the science of planning to promote their private interests via blatant violation of our constitutional rights.




The following two tabs change content below.
Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Ridiculous. Shallow values. Shallow people.


    I would recommend they sell for as much as possible and purchase more land in a quieter location unless of course there are religious or ceremonial ties to that particular location. I wouldn’t want to live under the scrutiny of any community, or near shallow minded people trying to inflict their vision of the perfect community onto our Native Americans.


    I respectfully submit one can’t hide from stupidity,ignorence and prejudice. Moving may be a resort not an alternitive. Where I have grown up/ lived my life, I have sceen open space distroyed by housing developments. Then some of the houses are torn down to several homes put on the property. Historic homes havr been demolished to be replaces with “Mc mansiones”.


    This is so sad. it reminds me of dealings with an HOA when you get none of the benefits, only worse. Also having dealings with imminent domain with out thousands of people coming together to fight it,


    the polo club might have a point,….”what are plains style tipis doing in NJ?” Richard, you are a tect, shouldn’t their shelters be bark or something traditionally correct, maybe dirt over sticks…..something that fits more with the land and nature. :o)

    (are they removing confederacy images in your area?…. I am seeing a couple of monuments a week re moving out, they say to the cemetery. re-write it , didn’t happen! amusing they say, the workers doing this wear masks and do it in the night. isn’t that the description of criminals……those who wear masks and operate at night? they would not like me if I lived in the area :o)

    • Surprisingly . . . Richard B. . . . I have discovered that teepees were used as temporary shelters throughout out much of North America . . . from Arizona to New England and from the Canadian Rockies to the Maritime Provinces. They were probably used by hunters in some tribes in the Southeast, but the only place that I have found references in Dixie to teepees was among buffalo hunters in western Kentucky.

      As for Confederate monuments . . . most of the Georgia Mountaineers were either neutral or pro-Union. It was local Union Militia cavalry from the Georgia Mountains, which guided General Sherman around the outer defenses of Atlanta, enabling Sherman’s armies to encircle the city and capture it.


        yes, lots of versions of tipis, little brush shelters… also in same camp as the hide versions… for the po boys who could not afford the full kit. also small portable versions to take on hunts/travels.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to POOF via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 809 other subscribers

The Information World is changing!

People of One Fire needs your help to evolve with it.

We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

During the past six years, a privately owned business has generously subsidized my research as I virtually traveled along the coast lines and rivers of the Southeast. That will end in December 2017. I desperately need to find a means to keep our research self-supporting with advertising from a broader range of viewers. Creation of animated architectural history films for POOF and a People of One Fire Youtube Channel appears to be the way. To do this I will need to acquire state-of-art software and video hardware, which I can not afford with my very limited income. Several of you know personally that I live a very modest lifestyle. If you can help with this endeavor, it will be greatly appreciated.

Support Us!

Richard Thornton . . . the truth is out there somewhere!

Pin It on Pinterest