Southampton is Indian Country

In delivering his opinion in suits brought by the Town of Southampton and the State of New York against the Shinnecock Indian Nation, Federal judge Thomas Platt declared that the Shinnecocks are indeed a tribe. He cited a 1792 act of the state legislature as deciding their status.

Platt's decision states ''The arguments advanced by the State Attorney General and the Town Attorney, were and are, at best, blatantly inconsistent (to say the least),'' . Also, claims by Southampton relative to Shinnecock geneology were irrelevant.

Such was the result of a 1 million dollar legal effort by Southampton Town to shoot down efforts by the Shinnecock Nation to lift themselves up by their bootstraps and emerge from poverty.

The status of the proposed Westwoods casino site must be settled by trial, although the Judge's decision states that in his court's opinion, tribal members ''are not obligated under present circumstances to seek or obtain approval by the United States before proceeding to develop their properties.''

A more complete account of the legal decision and its effect on the Federal recognition process can be found on-line at the web site of the publication Indian Country Today.