Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shinnecock Indian Nation is One Step Closer to Federal Acknowledgement

Boulder, CO - The Shinnecock Indian Nation (Nation) and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) welcomes the announcement by the Department of the Interior of the proposed finding in favor of acknowledgement of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. As a result of this finding, a 30-year plus effort for final federal acknowledgement of the Nation is finally within grasp.

"After 31 years of fighting for justice, the Shinnecock Indian Nation has today received a preliminary decision from the federal government to acknowledge it as an Indian Nation under federal law. During that fight, the Native American Rights Fund has stood side by side with the Nation and its peoples." Mark C. Tilden, NARF Senior Attorney.

The Nation and NARF first started their acknowledgement efforts more than three decades ago. The petition for federal acknowledgement was filed on September 25, 1998. The petition was finally placed on the Office of Federal Acknowledgement's (OFA) "Ready, Waiting for Active Consideration" list on September 15, 2003. On November 10, 2008, the OFA placed the Nation’s petition on active consideration.

The OFA must now publish the findings by December 20, triggering a 90-day comment period. During this period, anyone can comment. At the end of the comment period, the Nation has 30 days to respond. Once the comment period is completed, the BIA has 60 days to issue a final ruling. While it is possible the comment period could be extended, the Nation is on course to be formally and finally acknowledged by mid-summer 2010.

The Nation's Board of Trustees would like to thank those responsible for their active support, "As a result of this ruling, our more than 30-year quest for federal recognition is finally within our grasp . . . We look forward to reclaiming our rightful place on this list, which will enable us to qualify for federal programs long denied to our people. To be denied the ability to partner with the federal government on housing, healthcare, educational, and economic justice initiatives is no longer tolerable . . . This final recognition, when it inevitably comes, will come after years of anguish and frustration for many members of our Nation, living and deceased."

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is located on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, adjacent to Southampton, New York.


To read the DOI news release click HERE.

To read the NY Times article click HERE.

©2009 Native American Rights Fund