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Old 11-08-2005, 08:30 AM   #1
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Shinnecock gets Federal Recognition through Federal Judge

Hi everyone!!!!

We couldn't be more excited over here! I'd like everyone's feedback! Yay we did it!!!!!


Shinnecock declared tribe

BY ANN GIVENS AND KATIE THOMAS
STAFF WRITERS

November 8, 2005

In a move that could alter the future of Long Island's East End, a federal judge yesterday described the Shinnecock Indian Nation of Southampton as a bonafide tribe, potentially paving the way for the group to pursue a casino in Hampton Bays as well as sweeping land claims around their reservation.

While the rare decision, by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Platt, left many questions unanswered last night, legal experts nonetheless called it a victory for the Shinnecocks, who have been unsuccessfully pursuing federal recognition of their tribal status since the late 1970s, when they began submitting extensive paperwork to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. With strong language in which he states emphatically that the Shinnecocks are, in fact, a tribe, Platt's decision appears to go a long way toward granting just that.

But while Platt's decision is probably the biggest coup to date in the Shinnecock's struggle to open a casino and pursue land claims, it does not amount to a final victory.

Don Pongrace, who heads the Indian law and policy practice at the Washington law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, called the judge's decision "almost unprecedented." However Pongrace, who had not reviewed the order but was read portions on the phone, said the wording of the judge's decision -- which stops short of ordering that the Shinnecocks be added to the federal register of recognized tribes -- is "not clear enough for the defendant to declare complete victory, but this is a significant development for them."

Platt's ruling, which delves into centuries of Shinnecock history, has its roots in an action by the tribe to clear tribal-owned land in Hampton Bays to build a casino. One aspect of Platt's ruling states that the future uses of that land must be determined at a trial. New York State and Southampton Town had filed a lawsuit to stop the construction of the casino.

In addition, questions remain about a separate land claim issue. Last June, the tribe filed a federal lawsuit that claimed 3,600 acres of their ancestral land in Southampton, including the famed Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, National Golf Links, and Southampton College. The suit seeks monetary damages for the fair market value of the land, plus 150 years in past rent and interest -- possibly billions of dollars. In its legal papers, the tribe stated that their land was illegally taken from them, a large tract of it in the mid-19th century.

Tribal leaders, who met last night on the reservation, declined to be interviewed but issued a statement on the ruling.

"Given decision, we believe it's time for the State of New York and the Town of Southampton to stop fighting the Nation and work with us to reach a comprehensive, and just, solution to our claims," it read. "It is time for justice."

According to federal law, an Indian tribe can be recognized in any of three ways -- by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, Congress, or a federal judge. If a tribe is recognized by a judge rather than by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, then they may not be eligible for some of the federal subsidies for health care and education, experts have said. They also may not be subject to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which governs gambling by Indian tribes.

But it was unclear last night how those issues will affect the tribe as its legal fight to open a casino continues. Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Southampton Town, said last night the town's reading of federal gaming law requires that tribes be on the Bureau of Indian Affairs' list of federal tribes before any casino can be constructed.

"Unless you are an acknowledged tribe, you are not entitled to engage in gaming," he said.

In his decision, Platt said issues centered on the tribe's future use of reservation land in Hampton Bays must be determined at a trial. Citing that, Cohen said the biggest impact of the decision from the town's perspective is that the case will move forward to trial, in spite of the tribe's request to Platt for a summary judgment, which would have opened the door to casino construction.

"The judge denied the motion, and the cause is going to trial," Cohen said. Therefore, he said, a 2003 injunction prohibiting the Shinnecocks from constructing a casino on their property is still in effect.

Saleem Cheeks, a spokesman for Gov. George Pataki, said yesterday, "We're currently reviewing the decision."

Platt's 26-page decision stopped short of saying whether the tribe's sovereign status means it will be immune to lawsuits from Southampton and the state over its activities. If Platt rules that the tribe is immune to lawsuits, then the federal government alone could stop them from breaking ground.

In his ruling, Platt was unambiguous in his belief that the Shinnecocks are a bonafide tribe. "A great deal of evidence corroborates this court's conclusion that the Shinnecock Indians are in fact an Indian Tribe," he wrote. In another part of the decision, he wrote that, "Moreover, the state and town themselves ... admit that a large majority of members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation descend from the historic Shinnecock tribe of Indians ... "

John Strong, a professor emeritus of history at Southampton College who has written three books about Long Island's Indian tribes, said if the Shinnecocks indeed have been given federal recognition, that could pave the way for getting federal help -- in the form of legal and financial aid -- in pursuing the tribe's land claim. "A casino is a very different thing altogether," Strong said.

Some Southampton residents greeted the news happily yesterday.

"I think it's long overdue," said Paul Brennan, the Hamptons regional manager for Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. He said he opposes a casino in the Hamptons, but is glad for the decision. "I mean, what were they? Were they not Indians? We've negated and diminished them for how many years?"
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Old 11-08-2005, 09:12 AM   #2
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Don't jump the gun. This is a victory for your tribe, no doubt, but you aren't recognized yet.
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:55 PM   #3
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Good for you guys....and gals.

Just watch out tho, EVERYONE will come out of the woodwork now claiming Shinnecock blood.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:57 AM   #4
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I found an update from January on Indianz.com:

Shinnecock Nation waits for answer on recognition
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Shinnecock Nation of New York is ninth in line for an answer on its federal recognition petition.

The tribe began the process in 1978. After submitting additional documentation, its petition was finally placed on the "active" list by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in September 2003.

That doesn't mean answer is coming soon. The BIA's backlog could have the tribe waiting until 2014, at the earliest.

In hopes of moving the process along, the tribe filed suit in federal court. A judge ruled that the tribe was a legitimate Indian nation but the BIA won't put the tribe on the list of federally recognized entities until the petition is resolved.

Meanwhile, the tribe faces court battles with the state of New York. One suit, over plans to build a casino, is still pending while the other one, over a land claim, was recently dismissed.
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Old 07-05-2007, 03:36 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Congratulations!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fri_bread_addict View Post
Hi everyone!!!!

We couldn't be more excited over here! I'd like everyone's feedback! Yay we did it!!!!!


Shinnecock declared tribe

BY ANN GIVENS AND KATIE THOMAS
STAFF WRITERS

November 8, 2005

In a move that could alter the future of Long Island's East End, a federal judge yesterday described the Shinnecock Indian Nation of Southampton as a bonafide tribe, potentially paving the way for the group to pursue a casino in Hampton Bays as well as sweeping land claims around their reservation.

While the rare decision, by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Platt, left many questions unanswered last night, legal experts nonetheless called it a victory for the Shinnecocks, who have been unsuccessfully pursuing federal recognition of their tribal status since the late 1970s, when they began submitting extensive paperwork to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. With strong language in which he states emphatically that the Shinnecocks are, in fact, a tribe, Platt's decision appears to go a long way toward granting just that.

But while Platt's decision is probably the biggest coup to date in the Shinnecock's struggle to open a casino and pursue land claims, it does not amount to a final victory.

Don Pongrace, who heads the Indian law and policy practice at the Washington law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, called the judge's decision "almost unprecedented." However Pongrace, who had not reviewed the order but was read portions on the phone, said the wording of the judge's decision -- which stops short of ordering that the Shinnecocks be added to the federal register of recognized tribes -- is "not clear enough for the defendant to declare complete victory, but this is a significant development for them."

Platt's ruling, which delves into centuries of Shinnecock history, has its roots in an action by the tribe to clear tribal-owned land in Hampton Bays to build a casino. One aspect of Platt's ruling states that the future uses of that land must be determined at a trial. New York State and Southampton Town had filed a lawsuit to stop the construction of the casino.

In addition, questions remain about a separate land claim issue. Last June, the tribe filed a federal lawsuit that claimed 3,600 acres of their ancestral land in Southampton, including the famed Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, National Golf Links, and Southampton College. The suit seeks monetary damages for the fair market value of the land, plus 150 years in past rent and interest -- possibly billions of dollars. In its legal papers, the tribe stated that their land was illegally taken from them, a large tract of it in the mid-19th century.

Tribal leaders, who met last night on the reservation, declined to be interviewed but issued a statement on the ruling.

"Given decision, we believe it's time for the State of New York and the Town of Southampton to stop fighting the Nation and work with us to reach a comprehensive, and just, solution to our claims," it read. "It is time for justice."

According to federal law, an Indian tribe can be recognized in any of three ways -- by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, Congress, or a federal judge. If a tribe is recognized by a judge rather than by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, then they may not be eligible for some of the federal subsidies for health care and education, experts have said. They also may not be subject to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which governs gambling by Indian tribes.

But it was unclear last night how those issues will affect the tribe as its legal fight to open a casino continues. Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Southampton Town, said last night the town's reading of federal gaming law requires that tribes be on the Bureau of Indian Affairs' list of federal tribes before any casino can be constructed.

"Unless you are an acknowledged tribe, you are not entitled to engage in gaming," he said.

In his decision, Platt said issues centered on the tribe's future use of reservation land in Hampton Bays must be determined at a trial. Citing that, Cohen said the biggest impact of the decision from the town's perspective is that the case will move forward to trial, in spite of the tribe's request to Platt for a summary judgment, which would have opened the door to casino construction.

"The judge denied the motion, and the cause is going to trial," Cohen said. Therefore, he said, a 2003 injunction prohibiting the Shinnecocks from constructing a casino on their property is still in effect.

Saleem Cheeks, a spokesman for Gov. George Pataki, said yesterday, "We're currently reviewing the decision."

Platt's 26-page decision stopped short of saying whether the tribe's sovereign status means it will be immune to lawsuits from Southampton and the state over its activities. If Platt rules that the tribe is immune to lawsuits, then the federal government alone could stop them from breaking ground.

In his ruling, Platt was unambiguous in his belief that the Shinnecocks are a bonafide tribe. "A great deal of evidence corroborates this court's conclusion that the Shinnecock Indians are in fact an Indian Tribe," he wrote. In another part of the decision, he wrote that, "Moreover, the state and town themselves ... admit that a large majority of members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation descend from the historic Shinnecock tribe of Indians ... "

John Strong, a professor emeritus of history at Southampton College who has written three books about Long Island's Indian tribes, said if the Shinnecocks indeed have been given federal recognition, that could pave the way for getting federal help -- in the form of legal and financial aid -- in pursuing the tribe's land claim. "A casino is a very different thing altogether," Strong said.

Some Southampton residents greeted the news happily yesterday.

"I think it's long overdue," said Paul Brennan, the Hamptons regional manager for Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. He said he opposes a casino in the Hamptons, but is glad for the decision. "I mean, what were they? Were they not Indians? We've negated and diminished them for how many years?"
I remember going to the Shinnecock powwows back in the 1960's with my Mom and siblings, what a great time we had! My mother is a NY born Cherokee, she felt out of place going to city schools. She met two Shinnecock girls in junior high school and they became friends for life. They introduced her to their mother who adopted my Mom when she was a teenager and took her to NY powwows. My mother's family crossed over when she was a young mother so they became our family.

Grandma Buck, Aunt Mae, Aunt Marie and Uncle David you remain in our hearts forever.
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