Serving New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Eight Tribal Nations
Shinnecock Indian Nation
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- Shinnecock Indian Nation
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The Hiawatha Belt
The Hiawatha Belt symbolizes the five original nations from west to east in their respective territories across New York state - Seneca (People of the Great Hill), Cayuga (People of the Swamp), Onondaga (Keepers of the Fire), Oneida (People of the Standing Stone), and Mohawk (People of the Flint).
Phone: (631) 204-9301
Fax: (631) 822-1270
Shinnecock Nation Tribal Trustees:
Shinnecock Nation Tribal Council:
2010 Tribal Council: Chair: Keith Phillips; Vice-Chair: Dyáni Brown; Recording Secretary: Madeleine Rogers; Corresponding Secretary: Dianne Vieira; Treasurer: Roberta Hunter-Cuyjet; Donna Bess; Angela Coard; David Collins; Donna Collins-Smith; Charles K. Smith II; Susan Soto; Rachel Valdez; Nishwé Williams
While ancestral lands have dwindled over the centuries from a territory stretching at least from what is known today as the Town of Easthampton and westward to the eastern border of the Town of Brookhaven, the Nation still holds on to approximately 1,200 acres.
The Shinnecock Indian Nation has approximately 1,300 people, more than 600 of whom reside on the reservation adjacent to the Town of Southampton on the East End of Long Island.
Traditionally, decisions concerning the welfare of the tribe were made by consensus of adult male members. Seeking to shortcut the consensus process in order to more easily facilitate the acquisition of Indian lands, the Town of Southampton devised a three member trustee system for the Shinnecock people. This system of tribal government was approved by the New York State legislature in February of 1792. Since April 3, 1792, Shinnecock Indians have gone to the Southampton Town Hall the first Tuesday in April to elect three tribal members to serve a one- year term as trustees. In April 2007, the Shinnecock Indian Nation exercised its sovereign right as an ancient Indian Nation and returned to one of its basic traditions: it bypassed the Southampton Town Hall and for the first time since 1792 held its leadership elections at home, where they will remain.
The trustee system, however, did not then and does not now circumvent the consensus process, which still remains the governing process of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Major decisions concerning the tribe are voted yea or nay by all eligible adult members, including women, who gained the right to vote in the mid-1990s. Also in that period, the Shinnecock Nation installed a Tribal Council, a 13 member body elected for two-year terms. The Council is an advisory body to the Board of Trustees.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION INFRASTRUCTURE
The Shinnecock Shellfish Hatcheries and Environmental Center:
The Shinnecock Nation had great expectations for the original tribal Oyster Project which opened in 1973, but brown tide and general pollution forced it to close before it developed into the business enterprise it was planned to be. The hatchery was operational for less than 10 years, but the reseeding of oysters in our bay waters began again in 2004 and the project has been revived under the new name of The Shinnecock Shellfish Hatcheries and Environmental Center.
SUMMARY OF EPA/ONEIDA INDIAN NATION INTERACTION
EPA’s regional administrator intends to visit the Shinnecock Nation to discuss environmental protection and the various environmental programs, services and support EPA has available. The long-term goal would be to assist the Nation to build the capacity to develop a full-fledged environmental management department that will have planning, implementation and enforcement responsibilities.
The Shinnecock Nation will be invited to participate in national and regional initiatives and conferences, such as the National Tribal Conferences on Environmental Management, the National Tribal Environmental Council and the National Tribal Operations Committee meetings.
The Shinnecock Nation will be invited to participate in EPA Region 2’s Annual Indian Nation leadership meetings with Region 2 senior management, the director (or representative) of the American Indian Environmental Office and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Discussions include the specific environmental issues of each of the Indian Nations, as well as environmental protection of the Indian Nation lands and development of the Indian Nations’ environmental capacity.