The Obama administration has approved the Shinnecock Indians on Long Island New York for federal recognition. This decision culminated a court battle that lasted three decades.
There is still a 30-day comment period before the matter is fully settled but the support of the administration all but assures the 1,292-member tribe’s recognition. The announcement, made by the Bureau of Indian Affairs this morning, will certainly change the way of life for the relatively impoverished tribe, whose citizens live on 800 acres in Southampton, N.Y., in the midst of some of the nation’s wealthiest and most famous celebrities.
It will also touch off negotiations between the Tribe and the state over casino gambling. But state and local officials have long been worried about the traffic implications of building a casino in the Hamptons, and the Tribe would prefer to negotiate with the state and federal government to build a more lucrative casino on land elsewhere.