Long Island Shinnecock Indian Nation Gain Federal Tribe Recognition
State and County officials court Shinnecocks for casino proposal
The Shinnecock Indian Nation, after a 31 year odyssey, became the nation's 569th federally recognized tribe June 15, 2010. The Shinnecock Indian Nation is located in the Southampton area of Suffolk County, New York. As reported in Long Island Newsday, tribal leaders spoke of plans to
- improve government infrastructure
- improve health care, economic, and environmental programs
- increase the quality of housing through the possible availability of fedreally backed loans and grants
- look into opening their own schools on the reservation and possibly a tribal college on the grounds of the former site of Southampton College
- negotiate a pact to locate a casino off reservation
County and state political leaders have begun courting the Shinnecocks for a Class III casino, that can only be located off reservation. A Class III casino could allow slot machines, roulette wheels and table games such as poker and black jack.
There are multiple hurdles in gaining Class III casino approval. The Shinnecocks are expected to leverage land claims for 3, 000 acres primarily in Southampton, including Stony Brook Southampton campus, and the famous Shinnecock Hills golf course to negotiate a pact for the off reservation casino.
The land claims arise out of two historical events. In 1703, the Shinnecocks signed a lease with Southampton Town that reducedtheir tribal land to 3, 600 acres. In 1859, a group of investors convinced New York State to break the lease and limit the Shinnecocks to 800 acres of the current reservation.
Among other locations recommended by political officials for a casino have been Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale and Belmont Park Racetrack in Elmont, both located in Nassau County, New York.
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