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Oct 5, 2010 6:20 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Shinnecocks get final word, become 565th recognized tribe

Editor's Note:
Oct 5, 2010 6:20 PM

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is now officially the 565th Native American tribe to earn recognition from the U.S. government.

The Interior Board of Indian Appeals, or IBIA, last Friday dismissed two objections to granting the Shinnecocks’ federal recognition, removing the last remaining obstacles to what has been a 32-year process.

“The first day of October will live forever in the hearts and minds of the Shinnecock people,” Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs said in an phone interview Friday. “Everyone is just relieved and shedding tears for not only us who are here, but those who just missed it,” he said. He explained that some Shinnecock elders have died since July 19, when the tribe’s recognition application was originally expected to be finalized.

Tribal Trustees Chairman Randy King said that the delay in the finalization of the Shinnecocks’ recognition cost the tribe the chance to get a tribal court up and running in the next year. The tribal court effort is the most developed of several programs the Shinnecocks are hoping to set up with aid from the federal government. But because of the delay, the tribe missed the deadline to apply for funding in the 2011 federal budget and will now have to wait until the 2012 budget is appropriated.

“We’ve had to hold off efforts on a lot of things, things people have been working on for years,” Mr. King said. “The court was a real issue for us and would have really helped us.”

The recognition application was stalled over two objections, one filed by a group that claimed to represent 18,000 casino employees at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut, called the Connecticut 
Coalition for Gaming Jobs, and the other by members of the Montaukett Tribe, a splinter group of the Montauk Indian Nation, who wanted to be included in the Shinnecock application.

“We knew that the Department of Interior had sent over a very, very strong brief to the IBIA in our favor, basically saying that neither one of the two interested parties had any status or merit. And I guess the IBIA took heed to that and finalized their decision today,” Mr. Gumbs said last week.

“Neither the coalition nor Montauk has demonstrated that it has standing to request reconsideration of the final 
determination because neither has shown that it has a stake in the outcome to acknowledge 
the nation as a tribe,” the IBIA decision announced Friday reads.

The ruling, by administrative judges Steven K. Linscheid and Debora G. Luether, stated that The Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs cannot claim interested-party status because the coalition does not identify even one business or individual as a member, thus failing to provide any evidence that its members would be adversely affected by granting the Shinnecocks recognition.

The decision was not expected to happen this soon, and came as “a complete surprise,” Mr. Gumbs said. On Friday, the tribe sent out a press release with only the numbers 565 in very large red letters on it.

Outside the Shinnecock reservation, reactions to the announcement were positive from leaders who had long said the tribe deserved recognition, even if they found some of the benefits it would bring for the tribe fraught with pitfalls.

“I am delighted for the Shinnecocks,” U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton, who advocated for the tribe’s recognition, said Friday. “This is long overdue and I’m delighted that the Bureau of Indian Affairs saw fit to dismiss what were clearly frivolous objections raised by those two groups.”

Now the most important thing for the tribe to do, Mr. Bishop said, is to begin securing federal funding for education, health care, child care, seniors programs and other areas in which assistance is newly available. “To get that process moving and get to the tribe the assistance that they are eligible for is clearly job one,” he said.

Mr. Bishop noted that the federal fiscal year 2011 also started on Friday and the Bureau of Indian Affairs did not account for the inclusion of a new tribe in its budget.

“We will need to work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to see what funds are available today,” he said, adding that ensuring the BIA provides an appropriate amount for the Shinnecock Nation in its 2012 budget is also key.

But with recognition, also comes the prospect of the Shinnecock building their own bridge to financial independence. Mr. King hinted at the tribe’s plans for a casino on Long Island that experts have predicted could become one of the largest in the world.

“This will open up a world of opportunity of the tribe and for the surrounding community,” he said. “As they say, one door closes on this 32-year history and one door opens.”

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By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 1, 10 2:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Bout time!!! Congratulations!
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 2:55 PM
ladies and gentlemen.......place your bets!
By uncleronk (136), southold on Oct 1, 10 3:14 PM
Congratulations nothing can stop you now..it's about time
By typical (63), southampton on Oct 1, 10 5:32 PM
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Oct 1, 10 3:21 PM
Only 234 years overdue.

By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 1, 10 3:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
AHO! ALL MY RELATIONS..............................................,CHEEEEEEEEEEEEE......................................................................
By Pequawus (3), goodyear on Oct 1, 10 3:24 PM
I am just so filled with joy over this. wny, why why did it take so very long. congratulations from the bottom of my heart.
By local (106), north sea on Oct 1, 10 3:55 PM
I hope the elder Princess Star Leaf is still here to hear the news.

And I hope Ross school alumnus, Ms. Star Leaf Gumbs, is celebrating too!

All the best.
Mr. G
By Gerryg (4), East Hampton on Oct 1, 10 5:27 PM
Congratulations to the Tribe! A well-deserved, rightful and outrageously overdue victory! Too bad the Feds had to pass judgment when you were here first! The Tribe should pass judgment on the Feds!
By sirpoochala (78), Hampton Bays on Oct 1, 10 5:37 PM
Congratulations to the Shinnecock People!!!
By Mickey (1), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 5:38 PM
Our best wishes and prayers for the success and prosperity of the Shinnecock Nation.
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Oct 1, 10 6:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
About time that Uncle Sam recognized the Shinnecock nation after all these years. Used to know the Bess family from my Riverhead days.
I have seen the sucess of our local Indian community just west of Scottsdale,AZ who has built a business area to their west boundery, 2 casinos and now a major league spring training ball park. Hopefully the Shinnecocks will also prosper. All the best wishes.
By Oldracer (1), Scottsdale,AZ on Oct 1, 10 7:07 PM
Congratulations Shinnecock Nation on your recognition! Persistence, hard work and honesty will always overcome an oppressor.

From the Goree Island Heritage Foundation.
By lbeeti (6), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 7:53 PM
2 members liked this comment
Congratulations, the Shinnecocks deserve federal recognition and whatever federal benefits go along with it. The casino is another deal because it involves a compact with the state of New York. Federal Recognition is only a requirement, not a right to operate a casino. Federal benefits are a right.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 8:37 PM
2 members liked this comment
Walt do you try to be wrong?

"According to the 1988 federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, federally recognized tribes are permitted to operate limited gaming facilities on tribal lands. Larger operations, such as table games and slot machines, are allowable only if the tribe can reach a compact with the state government."

By ICE (1214), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 10:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yo Rex now you can go legit.... LOL good luck to you all.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 1, 10 8:46 PM
An unofficial thanks goes out to the many friends of the Shinnecock Nation. Your kind words and encouragement are truly a blessing in support of the ancestral people who have held-fast through tough as well as happy times for centuries. For the handful of you who don't know us and insist on referring to us in a stereotypical, unkind manner, please remember we are well represented in the Southampton working class community. We are loving parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who are ...more
By Weetahmoe (1), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 10:41 PM
Congratulations Shinnecock! Join the New York Coalition for Shinnecock Gaming! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=137819892904852
By Takeynea (9), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 11:33 PM
I love my mom! Weetahmoe! Tell those who unfairly disparage us who we are!
By Takeynea (9), Southampton on Oct 2, 10 12:19 AM
This is a long time coming. I myself have Timacuan indian desent, however my daughters father is shinnecock. It's a proud day. Celebrate it to the fullest
By penny Smith-Haverly (1), New Symrna Bch, Florida on Oct 2, 10 12:33 AM
So very happy. Send your songs of praise to the heavens!
By MomOlson (1), Carefree on Oct 2, 10 7:54 AM
congratulations. the spirits have granted this generation with a new journey.
By justduckey (58), artist colony on Oct 2, 10 8:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
By KenBrownEagle (6), Southampton on Oct 2, 10 8:42 AM
Congratulations! Good for you for staying with it until you earned the federal recognition that was your birthright. I wish the tribe all the best in the future.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 2, 10 11:47 AM
Hopefully the tribe can now move forward with something constructive and posotive for their members and the region.
By MickNY (43), East Hampton on Oct 2, 10 8:42 PM
Long overdue, congratulations!

Time to get that Southampton casino underway.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 2, 10 11:15 PM
Congratulations Shinnecock Nation! @Rezdog70, your response shows the true spirit, wisdom and generosity of us Native Americans. You answered an aggressive person with grace, strength and truth. Again, congrats to the Shinnecock. @MsMarple, you're bitter and jealous. We just laugh at your kind.

By ladytwofeather (1), Leavenworth on Oct 3, 10 12:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Recognition that is truly deserved! CONGRATULATIONS to the tribe! Am so glad Elizabeth Thunderbird got to be part of this !!!
By SagHarborBob (91), Sag Harbor on Oct 3, 10 7:17 AM
Congratulations Shinnecock!
By jeffrsn (1), amherst on Oct 3, 10 8:14 AM
FULL DISCLOSURE: Although the information we get from 27 East & Newsday is sketchy at best, it is really the only information we have about the casino plans and the different maneuverings of people like Wayne Horsely and Gateway Casinos (the interested investors funding the Shinnecock Indian Casino ventures.) It would be most appropriate if there would be a website where all plans were fully disclosed and discussed, a place where all Long Islanders could find out what's happening...I guess our political ...more
By Tommy27 (8), Baiting Hollow on Oct 3, 10 7:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
The website is a good idea. The accusation of blackmail is a bit harsh tough, I am curious as to how much you are aware of facts surrounding their claim to the Southampton lands which include my property. The claim is very valid as to their 1000 years lease of 1703 was dissolved illegally. I have read the leased which was signed by ancestors of mine who were some of the Undertakers of the Township. Undertaker is what the Town officials were called prior to the Dongan Patent, which gave them a new ...more
Oct 3, 10 8:52 PM appended by ICE
harsh though
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Oct 3, 10 8:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
I do appreciate the history lesson, and the term "blackmail" is harsh, but the problems affecting Southampton are getting ready to spill over into other areas of Long Island that have nothing to do with the Indian land clams. Perhaps I should have used the word "leverage," which will be applied by the Indians in order to get a casino built somewhere on Long Island. I think this is an accurate term in view of the fact that the Tribe has revealed that they never intended to build anything in at all ...more
By Tommy27 (8), Baiting Hollow on Oct 4, 10 1:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
wow congratulations for a lot of hard work and yes long overdue just build the casino in suffolk we need the revenue
By harbor man (47), sag harbor on Oct 3, 10 9:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Congratulations Shinnecocks! Stay true to what you believe is right and great things will happen!
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Oct 3, 10 11:17 PM
Congratulations!!!! October 1st will be a special day for a log time.
By lacey (5), New Milford on Oct 4, 10 10:25 AM
Shinnecock College, including Institute for Earth Sustainability and Oceanographic Research.

Aim High to the Sun!

[10/1/10 has a nice ring to it also IMO.]
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 4, 10 3:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Newsday has just reported that the SB administration has confirmed closing down the Southampton Campus.

Now we have a confirmation that they don't recognize the jewel in Shinnecock Hills!

What Blindness!

Good riddance to these myopic so-called "leaders."

Take the lead here, Shinnecock Nation!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 4, 10 4:48 PM
Congratulations !!
By marymare (12), east hampton on Oct 5, 10 3:03 PM
1 member liked this comment