June 15, 2010
Last Tuesday the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs formally recognized a small tribe from Long Island. The tribe celebrated with song and prayers when they received the news.
It has taken decades for Shinnecock’s tribal leaders to obtain the recognition. The next step is to have a 30 comment period listed in the Federal Register. After the 30 days, permanent recognition is expected.
Ancestral records and historical documents were reviewed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This had to be done before to determine if the Shinnecocks met the criteria for recognition. In 2007 the tribe was hopeful to bypass the process by seeking recognition in federal court. However that was rejected by the judge.
Currently there are 500 Sinnecock members living on their reservation in Southampton. The reservation is 1,200 acres. An additional 700 tribal members live in other areas.
Possible casino plans are being developed. However state and federal governments need to give approval before the Sinnecock casino can happen. The federal recognition will help the tribe when obtaining funding for the project.
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