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Shinnecock Renew Push For Tribal Land Rights

Jay Shah
Shinnecock members at a protest in January at a Southampton construction site they believe could be a tribal burial site

A progressive group of activists joined Long Island’s indigenous people this week to set benchmarks to address racial inequalities and injustices.

The coalition says a key component would be restoring long-sought tribal land rights to the Shinnecock Indian Nation. 

Tribal member Rebecca Genia says that land is now the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course and Stony Brook Southampton campus.

“This is not acceptable, how the Shinnecock nation has been treated in the past, so that you can play golf on our ancestors' graves, so that you can build your mansions on top of the bones and the blood of our ancestors.”

Restoring tribal land would require federal action. Southampton Town has considered additional protections for unearthed indigenous grave sites.

Other benchmarks require state action, like providing state recognition of sovereignty for the Montaukett Indian Nation.

The group’s seven-page report also covers housing injustice and food insecurities highlighted by the pandemic.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.