Woody Harrelson as Harlan DeGroat, a character some Ramapough feel is based on a negative stereotype of their people.

A 'Hate Crime' on Film! Ramapough Blast 'Out of the Furnace'

ICTMN Staff
12/10/13

New Jersey's Ramapough Indians are protesting Out of the Furnace, a film that premiered on Friday, as a harmful depiction of their community. 

"It eats up and destroys one's self-esteem, particularly for the children. You can't really measure the destruction," Ramapough Lenape leader Dwaine Perry said, according to NJ.com. "It's a massive social humiliation. Not only is it a hate crime, it's an extremely violent crime."

In the movie, Casey Affleck plays an Iraq War veteran who has taken up bare-knuckle boxing as a means to make money to pay off gambling debts. He travels to the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey, where he gets into trouble with an insular backwoods community rife with drugs and crime. Although this society is not identified as Ramapough in the film, Ramapough critics of the depiction say it's obviously playing on a harmful stereotype of their people.

One character, played by Woody Harrelson, has the last name DeGroat, which is a common family name among the Ramapough -- a detail that Perry said "stepped over the boundaries of decency," according to the Hackensack Record.

A spokeswoman for Relativity Media, the film's production company, said that "the filmmakers conducted research and drew upon their own personal life experiences in creating an original screenplay, and the story and the characters are entirely fictional."

Sharing Perry's concern was Mahwah, New Jersey Mayor Bill Laforet. "These residents live in homes no different than our neighbors and are employed by major corporations and businesses," LaForet said. "They are a vital component of our heritage and should be looked upon for the contributions they have made.”

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sflm's picture
sflm
Submitted by sflm on
Too bad they didn't just explicitly show and cast these people as 'white, low-economic class, backwood, Republican, conservative and Christian trash'. Then the film would be celebrated. Probably even by the authors of this website.

abcde's picture
abcde
Submitted by abcde on
I saw the movie. They did call them Ramapoughs several times in the movie, which shocked me. I don't think the movie maker has any excuse.

sotomayor's picture
sotomayor
Submitted by sotomayor on
Impresive.

Joe Campbell's picture
Joe Campbell
Submitted by Joe Campbell on
Same cast of bozos, same boring Hollycrap script; guns, violence, pain and death. And of course the only Indigenous looking character was a women. No doubt it is very offensive to the Ramapough. What I find equally offensive is Bill Laforet's defense; "These residents live in homes no different than our neighbors and are employed by major corporations and businesses." Shout out to the "major corporations". WTF does it matter who these residents are employed by. LIke they are somehow valuable individuals only because they work for corporations?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
The Ramapough are the nicest Heart full Native people in the North Eastern US. I'm not sure why you just didn't use white people to portray the way white people act? We don't like being implicated in your disastrous dark, murderous hearts delight! I agree about the backwoods, Republican trash sentiment written below, because, this is not a Portrayal of Native American culture, but a portrayal of European sentiment of violence and viciousness... It would better serve your needs to use your race and culture in a film such as the one in which you would liked to have portrayed as a Ramapough way of life. It would be far better if you would carry-on this kind of horrifying lifestyle back in your homelands of Europe and leave us to live on the land of our ancestors. We value peace love and understanding in our culture, not murder and debauchery! So, I would ask you to leave this continent (Turtle Island) and bring your disgusting stories with you, so that we may get back to the peace you have taken away from us... Only then can we become what the creator has brought us into this world to be...

VB's picture
VB
Submitted by VB on
If this article wasn't written, I would've paid no attention to this film at all, but now with all this hype, I may just have to go see it!

getoverit's picture
getoverit
Submitted by getoverit on
Anonymous "The Ramapough are the nicest Heart full Native people in the North Eastern US. I'm not sure why you just didn't use white people to portray the way white people act? We don't like being implicated in your disastrous dark, murderous hearts delight! I agree about the backwoods, Republican trash sentiment written below, because, this is not a Portrayal of Native American culture, but a portrayal of European sentiment of violence and viciousness... It would better serve your needs to use your race and culture in a film such as the one in which you would liked to have portrayed as a Ramapough way of life. It would be far better if you would carry-on this kind of horrifying lifestyle back in your homelands of Europe and leave us to live on the land of our ancestors. We value peace love and understanding in our culture, not murder and debauchery! So, I would ask you to leave this continent (Turtle Island) and bring your disgusting stories with you, so that we may get back to the peace you have taken away from us... Only then can we become what the creator has brought us into this world to be..." This is the most racist thing I've ever heard.....
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