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Shinnecock Nation Will Move Forward With Billboard Construction Amid Fine Threat From State

Shinnecock Nation supporters hold signs at an encampment along the Sunrise Highway in Southampton. The encampment lasted for 26 days to assert the Nation's right to maintain a monument on what they say is Shinnecock land.
Julia Press
/
WSHU Public Radio
Shinnecock Nation supporters hold signs at an encampment along the Sunrise Highway in Southampton. The encampment lasted for 26 days to assert the Nation's right to maintain a monument on what they say is Shinnecock land.

The Shinnecock Indian Nation says they will refuse to comply with a New York state order to stop construction on a second digital billboard in Southampton, Long Island.

The state Department of Transportation issued a stop-work order Friday for not getting the proper permits to build on Sunrise Highway heading east toward the Hamptons and their tribal territory.

The order follows a two-year legal dispute between the state and the tribe. A state Supreme Court judge had sided with the tribe last May in declining to block the tribe from building and operating the first billboard.

Lance Gumbs is a former tribal trustee and Shinnecock liaison for the project.

“They know it’s tribal land. They know that they have no jurisdiction over it. And yet they are trying to insist they have the right to infringe on the sovereignty of the tribe. And that’s not going to happen,” Gumbs said.

The state plans to fine the tribe $1,000 a day for each of the billboards, starting in March.

The tribe calls that “harassment,” and says the state has even paid to advertise on the billboard.

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.