Economist: Recognition nears for Shinnecock Nation
"Most New Yorkers are aware that Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the local Indians for $24-worth of beads and trinkets in 1626. Some know Broadway is a former Indian trail, and that neighbourhoods, like Canarsie and Maspeth, are named for tribes long gone. Few realise, though, that there is an 800-acre (324-hectare) Indian reservation virtually on New York City’s doorstep in Southampton, a town in the posh Hamptons. This beach area is where New York’s rich have their summer homes. But unlike their wealthy neighbours, who come via high-end realtors, the Shinnecock Indian Nation say they are the children of a goddess who caused the land to form beneath her feet.

Even though the Shinnecocks are the oldest self-governing tribe in America and have been recognised by New York state since colonial times, they have struggled since 1978 to be federally recognised. The tribe moved a step closer on May 26th when a federal judge ruled that the Department of the Interior must make a decision by December 15th. The tribe meets the necessary criteria, so it could have federal status by mid 2010. Gordell Wright, one of the tribe’s three elected trustees, observes most New Yorkers think of Indians in historical terms; but “we are here and our problems are contemporary,” he says. Housing is the biggest. Because members do not individually own the land on the reservation, they are not eligible for mortgages or building loans. Often several generations of a family live in one house. Others live in trailers. Federal recognition will give the tribe access to loans from the Housing and Urban Development department."

Get the Story:
A break at last (The Economist 6/11)

Recent Court Decision:
Shinnecock Nation v. Kempthorne (September 30, 2008)

Related Stories:
Connecticut tribes support Shinnecock recognition (6/5)
Shinnecock Nation meets with BIA over recognition (6/4)
Shinnecock Nation in DC to press for recognition (6/3)
Editorial: Shinnecock Nation recognition on horizon (6/1)
Blog: Shinnecock Nation eyes ultimate prize (6/1)
Shinnecock Nation open to several casino sites (5/29)
Column: Shinnecock Nation nears a milestone (5/28)
Shinnecock Nation ready to negotiate with state (5/28)
BIA agrees to decision on Shinnecock Nation (5/27)
Shinnecock Nation expects recognition decision (4/6)

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