The trial in which the Town of Southampton is challenging the sovereignty of the Shinnecock Nation over its land west of the Shinnecock canal continues at the Federal Court in Islip.
Newsday reported on Wednesday:
Taking the stand in a federal case that could determine the economic future of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, tribal chairman Lance Gumbs testified yesterday about the impoverished conditions of the East End tribe - and that a casino was the only way to reverse the fortunes of the reservation. Gumbs cited census statistics showing that 60 percent of the nation's
families struggled below the federal poverty line. He testified in U.S. District Court in Central
Islip that the tribe had plans at this time to build a casino limited to 61,000 square
feet, not the Foxwoods-size facility, that attorneys for the Town of Southampton say is the real plan. Foxwoods, in Connecticut, is 1.9 million square feet.
"We believe it is our political and sovereign right to move forward, to better the economic
situation of our nation," Gumbs said of the tribe's goal of casino development on the
79-acre "Westwoods" lot in Hampton Bays. "The Westwoods is our land, that's been used in the past for firewood. ... It has been used as a means of survival."
Members of the Shinnecock Nation have requested that the public attend the proceedings in support of their cause. Members of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance and Hispanic Americans' Cesar Malaga have endorsed this cause.
A Thursday Court session was cancelled. The trial will resume on Monday, Jan. 29 , Jan. 30 and 31st at the United States Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza Central Islip. The court house is off of exit 43A of the Southern State Parkwy. Follow signs to court complex which is north of the Southern State and East of Carleton Avenue.