Town Buys Part of Shinnecock Hills Sacred Land

Tuesday evening the Southampton Town Board approved the purchase of two of four lots in the Shinnecock Hills owned by developer Robert Romeo.

The land, held sacred as the burial place of their ancestors by the Shinnecock Indians is on a bluff overlooking Shinnecock Bay.

It is being purchased with money from the Community Preservation Fund derived from a property transfer tax for 5.8 million dollars.

Speakers for the Inter Tribal Historic Preservation Task Force said the partial purchase undercut an agreement between the Town, Suffolk County and the Peconic Land Trust to acquire all the land.

Southampton Supervisor Patrick Heaney said the Town decided to move ahead since the purchase by the County would take much longer. Heaney said the Town is limited in the amount of money for any single purchase and is constrained to pay 'fair market value' for property under the CPF law.

Ruben Valdez of Shinnecock and the Preservation Task Force said that they have been advocating for the purchase for the past five years. In that time the market value of the land has increased, in part because of a Town approved sub-division plan.

One of the two remaining lots owned by Mr. Romeo contains an abandoned house which is of historic and architectural interest. Several speakers urged the Town to purchase the remaining property so the house could be preserved.

Rebecca Genia of Shinnecock said "of most concern to us, as Shinnecock people, is the protection of those who are buried in that ground"


This report prepared for WPKN Local News heard Monday-Friday at 6:30pm on
WPKN 89.5 Bridgeport, CT and WPKM 88.7 Montauk, NY