On Tuesday June 10 members of the Inter-tribal Historic Protection Task Force which includes the Unkechaug and Shinnecock Nations on Long Island spoke to a group of people from the local Southampton community and from the Shinnecock and Poospatuck Reservations. They urged their listeners to support efforts to enact grave protection legislation. They were joined by two members of the Lakota Nation from South Dakota speaking about the struggle to preserve the sanctity of the Bear Butte sacred site in the Black Hills.
New York State is one of four states that have no legislation prescribing what is to be done when unmarked gravesites are un-earthed. This has led to many gravesites winding up under newly constructed housing developements.
A bill known as the "Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act" introduced by Steven Engelbright has been introduced in the New York State Legislature for the last two years but has yet to pass both the Assembly and the State Senate.
A meeting at the Hayground School on Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton is scheduled for 7pm on Thursday June 12. Posh Camp and Vic Camp of the Lakota and Elizabeth Thunder Bird Haile of Shinnecock, along with Kathy Engel of Sagaponack will talk about honoring and preserving sacred places.
The Inter-Tribal Historic Preservation Task Force can be contacted at PO Box 1404, Southampton New York 11969 and contributions can be sent to that address.