P.O. BOX 1404
SOUTHAMPTON, NY 11969-1404
Phone:(631) 283-6143 / Fax:(631) 287-7153
descendants of Algonquin speaking people of Long Island and
New England have a
responsibility and an obligation passed on to us by our ancestors
to protect the land and the
memory of our ancient communities. No indigenous community
in North America has willfully or
intentionally disturbed ancient burial sites or other known
sacred and consecrated remains. To do
so would bring shame and dishonor on us and our descendants.
our mission to fulfill the obligation and responsibility given
to us by our ancestors to protect the
land and those buried underneath it. It is also our mission
to educate and promote knowledge
regarding the historical and cultural histories of our communities
for ourselves and our future
5, 2003 a Shelter Island resident unearthed a burial that
had lain undisturbed for nearly
600 years when a foundation was being dug for a horse barn.
The proper authorities were notified,
the proper procedure followed, and members of the Shinnecock
Nation were notified by the Medical
Examiners Office when he had determined that the remains were
Indians, or Native American.
Shinnecock Tribal members gathered at the site to pray and
honor the ancestors in the proper way
according to Shinnecock traditionai teachings and beliefs.
agreed that there would be no further digging or building
on the site where there is evidence
that there are many more burials in what is being called a
"mass burial grave".
team of anthropologists and archaeologists followed proper
procedure to test the
remains and reclamation of those remains by the Brockett's
Funerai Home in Southampton from the
Medical Examiner's office to hold for reinterment, was carried
out in a respectful way.
Richards deliberately violated the agreement he made with
the Shinnecock People when he
built his barn on the the burial site. While we are willing
to accept that Walter Richards unknowingly
a grave, we cannot accept blatant disrespect to the final
resting place of our ancient relatives.
We will not accept his willful and intentional disregard of
the sanctity of a cemetery solely because these
are Indian graves. This is racism in its most vile form.
was not the first "mass burial" to be uncovered
on Shelter Island and defiled as is currently
permissible under the guise of private property laws. The
manner in which the remains of 28 Indigenous
People were disposed of in the 1920's is nothing less than
before the Town Board of Shelter Island to challenge their
responsibility as elected
officials, to not allow citizens to violate the moral code
of decency with respect to the dead and the
protection of their burial sites.
suggested that the Shelter Island Town Board:
1 ) Revoke
or suspend the Building Permit for the Barn on the Richards'
property and prohibit any
further work at the location
a felony criminal investigation and file a felony complaint
against the homeowners and
their advisors for the willful desecration of a known cemetery
under NYS Law and Federal Law.
3) Adopt an Ordinance/Code protecting Burial Sites/Cemeteries
on private property.
with us to discuss our Draft Ordinance Document