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Opening Arguments Begin In Shinnecock Billboard Dispute

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A New York state Supreme Court judge heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit the state brought against the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s sovereignty on the site of a 61-foot-tall electronic billboard the tribe erected on Sunrise Highway in Southampton.

The lawsuit says the site of the tribe-owned billboard is not part of the Shinnecock reservation. 

The tribe says the case should be dropped. 

The state and tribe have been tied up in a legal battle over the billboard for several weeks.

The tribe says the state government has always treated the site as Shinnecock land. They claim the state wants to colonize their land to serve “the Southampton elite.”

The state Department of Transportation says that the tribe did not get the needed approvals. Officials say the billboard is a safety concern for drivers.