Commentary: Rev. Holly Haile Davis D.D.

Reverend Holly Haile Davis of Shinnecock comments on the drug raid on the Shinnecock Reservation conducted by law enforcement agents last Thursday, April 19:

There is not one Shinnecock family who has not been affected by the situation that woke us up on Thursday morning.

There was a true sense of terror being brought to us. To be rudely awakened was something that shocked and touched my entire community.

There are many who, of course, are very glad to see illegal firearms and illegal drugs removed from our community.

We would like some truth to go along with the remembering of this story and in the re-telling of this storyand we would like some compassion in the interpreting of what this means.

It is unfortunate that non - Shinnecock people have been coming to the reservation in the dark of night to buy illegal drugs for quite some time and they have created and butressed this illegal trade.

There is not enough money on Shinnecock to create a multi-million anything. We are a people who live, according to the statistics of the outside, at or below poverty level.

Yes, there need to be ways of getting at illegal drug trafficking. There need also to be ways to get at substance abuse.

We don't know where substance abuse is going to end but we do know the beginnings of substance abuse among our native peoples. We know that "Rhum" was a form of payment when Indian men were paid. We also know that treaties and agreements and land exchanges were negociated with whiskey and we know that this is part of the history of this nation.

These are difficult questions but they are questions that are not going away just because they've not been addressed.

For that matter our people are not going to go away just because we have found many challenges in trying to live and work and be educated and be full participants in the community in which we live.

We are not so stupid to think that the outsiders have all of the answers and all the solutions and if the Indians would just shut up and do what they were told then all would be well in the world. That has been the policy for at least 500 years on this continent and I think that it is time that it stopped.


This commentary was prepared for broadcast on WPKN 89.5 Bridgeport / WPKM 88.7 Montauk.