Federal Judge Rules Against Shinnecock Casino Plan

Federal Judge Joseph Bianco ruled Tuesday that the Shinnecock Nation cannot build a casino on their off-reservation land in Southampton Town because the land is not recognized as part of the reservation and the tribe is not recognized by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

A statement issued by the Shinnecock Nation Board of Trustees says
"This ruling only delays the inevitable: we remain confident that we will be placed on the list of federally recognized tribes. While we intend to appeal at our first opportunity, we remain willing to work with local, state and federal officials on a solution that
provides long term benefits for the Nation and our neighbors."
An array of federal subsidies for education and health care are available for areas that have federally recognized tribes.

The Westwoods land owned by the tribe has been native-occupied for centuries but Judge Bianco ruled that a 17th century land sale to English settlers means that the Shinnecock do not have "aboriginal title". This is despite testimony by a Yale historian that the land deals were illegal under Connecticut colony law. Eastern Long Island was governed from Connecticut at the time.

The decision came a week before Southampton goes to the polls to elect
a new Town Board. Incumbent Supervisor Patrick Heaney says $3.9 million dollars have been spent fighting the Shinnecock casino plan. He told reporters Tuesday at Town Hall "it has been spend, spend spend".


Adapted from a report filed for WPKN news Wednesday, October 31.

WPKN News is heard on WPKN 89.5 Bridgeport and WPKM 88.7 Montauk, Monday-Friday 6:30 pm