A banner reading "When will we get our Shinnecock Hills back?" is seen at a protest organized by citizens of the Shinnecock Nation during the U.S. Open in New York. Photo: Kelly Haddo-Namo Jimoseyang-Tunuppasog‎ - Shinnecock Hills Protectors Demostration

Shinnecock Nation finalizes deal for golf tournament as protests begin

The Shinnecock Nation reached a deal with the hosts of the U.S. Open, a popular golf tournament taking place on stolen land in New York.

The United States Golf Association agreed to build a training center on the reservation, according to a statement posted by Geoff Shackelford. The Oscar Bunn Golf Facility is named for Oscar Bunn, a tribal citizen who helped build the course where the tournament is being held, The Southampton Press reported.

Additionally, the USGA is promoting the use of the reservation as a parking option for tournament attendees. The tribe will be able to generate revenues from the arrangement.

“We sincerely appreciate the USGA’s efforts to work with the Shinnecock Nation with this year’s U.S. Open. We are very proud of the history we share and are excited to welcome the championship this week,” the tribal council said in the statement.

We finalized our Tribal Contract with the USGA! We had our oldest tribal member Mr Lubin Hunter a "101" year Old WW ll...

Posted by Lance A. Gumbs on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Shinnecock Nation Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs on Facebook: 'We finalized our Tribal Contract with the USGA!'

Despite the agreement, some tribal citizens and their allies are holding protests throughout the tournament to call attention to the history of the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course. The facility is located on land that was taken from the tribe through illegal transactions in the state.

"In 2018 we are still here, and still fighting to correct an historic injustice," Nicky Banks, an organizer of the effort, wrote on Facebook. "While our name and likeness are used to make millions of dollars for the surrounding community, we struggle to fix our roads, fund our social programs, and provide security and comfort to our people."

The Shinnecock Hills Protectors, alternatively known as the Shinnecock Hills Defenders, have been staging the protest since Monday. They plan to continue through the conclusion of the U.S. Open on Sunday.

The tribe included the golf course in a 3,600-acre land claim that was filed in 2005. The lawsuit was rejected in the federal courts without considering the merits.

Instead, a federal judge said the tribe waited too long -- more than 140 years -- to bring the case. Moving forward with it would be too "disruptive" to local governments and communities, the ruling stated.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the claim in 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court effectively put an end to the case when it refused to hear the tribe's petition in 2016.

The tribe filed the lawsuit as its petition for federal recognition was pending at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The tribe's status was finalized in 2010.

The tribe's 800-acre reservation is located on the eastern end of Long Island.

Read More on the Story:
Shinnecock Protests ‘Stolen Land’ (The Hamptons Independent June 12, 2018)
Shinnecock, USGA reach accord on U.S. Open participation (Newsday June 11, 2018)
U.S.G.A. Comes to Agreement with Shinnecock Indian Nation (The New York Times June 11, 2018)
John Shippen: Shinnecock's barrier breaker (The Golf Channel June 13, 2018)
A Shinnecock Man In The South Pacific Provides A Hint Of The Role Men Of Color Played In Whaling (The Southampton Press June 11 2018)

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