© 2022 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Long Island News

Long Island Indigenous tribes back ancestral grave protection bill

The Shinnecock Graves Protection Society celebrates the completed deal between the town of Southampton and the Peconic Land Trust that allows them to reclaim ancestral burial grounds.
Photo courtesy Tecumseh Ceaser
/
The Shinnecock Graves Protection Society celebrates the completed deal between the town of Southampton and the Peconic Land Trust that allows them to reclaim ancestral burial grounds.

Several Long Island Indigenous tribes have backed a state bill that would protect unmarked ancestral grave sites across New York.

The Shinnecock and Unkechaug tribes want lawmakers in New York to pass the Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act before the legislative session ends next month.

New York is one of three states that does not have rules in place for when ancestral human remains and artifacts are discovered on private land. Federal lands and institutions that receive federal funding are required to report and preserve ancestral remains, according to U.S. law.

The tribes said the legislation would create a state burial site review committee to protect these unmarked grave sites from desecration and destruction.

The legislation was reintroduced after ancestral remains were unearthed during construction in the Hamptons. The Shinnecock tribe now stewards the property and has found new graves under a mansion in Southampton.