Shinnecock Battle Finally Over

October 5, 2010

The Shinnecock nation’s thirty year court battle for tribal recognition is finally over. They receive formal tribal status by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on June 13, and a federal court dismissed the remaining objections to the status last week.

For years, tribal elders have fought for this recognition, while also planning for the opening of casinos once the court battle ended. So it comes as no surprise that tribal spokesmen wasted no time discussing their gambling operation plans, as reported on

The Shinnecock are an Algonquin people located on the south shore of long island. Most members of the small tribe live on a reservation in Southhampton.

According to the tribal website, the Shinnecock Nation is among the oldest self-governing tribes of Indians in the United States. New York State has recognized the tribe for more than two hundred years.

The struggle for federal recognition has been long and hard. The tribe needed to meet these criteria set forth by the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

“Since 1900, it must comprise a distinct community and have existed as a community from historical times;
it must have political influence over its members;
it must have membership criteria; and
it must have membership that consists of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe and who are not enrolled in any other tribe.”

There have been arguments that those claiming Shinnecock status have little Native American blood at all. Many of these objections have undeniably racist overtones.

Lost in all this is the irony that the Shinnecock people have been around a lot longer than the United States, whether our government “recognizes” that fact or not.

{ 1 comment }

Online Casino October 13, 2010 at 1:51 am

good points and the details are more specific than elsewhere, thanks.

– Thomas

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