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Shinnecock makes personal case for federal recognition

June 4, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Shinnecock Indian Nation trustee chairman Randy King met for two hours with U.S. Department of the Interior officials Wednesday regarding his tribes petition for federal recognition.

He said at the conclusion, "It's been a long journey. This 31-year ordeal has been about documents. Look at me. We just ask you to give us a fair decision with the documents and humanize this process."

Shinnecocks hope this is the final stage of their efforts for federal recognition, which help with housing, health care and education support from the federal government, and provide sovereignty rights to open a casino.

The Shinnecocks have 200 years of documentation supporting their claim to tribal status and land. They have provided more than 40,000 documents to the researchers with their application for federal recognition that began in 1978.

A preliminary decision is due on or before December 15th.

Noted historian and researcher, Michael Lawson, said he was optimistic.
"This is the strongest case I've ever been a researcher on. This is the largest recognized residential Indian community in the whole Northeast."

Jack Campisi, another researcher, said "There is no doubt in my mind the tribe will be recognized."

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