Poquahoc Uhtuk is a place that was used prehistorically as a summer and fall “clambake” site. Food remains, shell heaps, fire pits, and ceramics were found in the area, showing evidence of indigenous occupation.
In This Place, Wampum Was Made
Ayeuonganit Wampum Ayimꝏup, Here, Wampum Was Made, also known as Parrish Pond, is the site of a former Shinnecock wampum-manufacturing site.
In 2010, a protest led by Shinnecock tribal member Rebecca Genia began at Parrish Pond. Despite a peaceful protest, three Shinnecock tribal members were arrested on the first morning of protest, and a fourth was arrested the next day when, once again, protesters gathered at the site. This time, however, the tribe had won an injunction against the subdivision and called in Bob Zellner, co-chair of the Southampton Anti-Bias Task Force, to help mediate the situation. Zellner had barely introduced himself to the supervising officer when he was “knocked to the ground and brutalized” by police. He, too, was arrested.
Willie Dunn said at that time,
The place was dotted with Indian burial mounds and we left some of these intact as bunkers in front of the greens. We scraped out some of the mounds and made sand traps.
Material from the Sebonac and Woodland period villages were found in the area; including pottery and human remains that were sent to the American Museum of Natural History and Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation – now NMAI.
Around 1844, the “Little Church” is built on the reservation. It was a Millerite Church; a sect of the Congregationalist church.
Today, there is no evidence of the church beyond photographs.
Ronkonkoma was once a fresh water pond with a prehistoric village settlement.
Many nineteenth and twentieth century legends are associated with this site.
Today, the water of Lake Ronkonkoma has been deemed too toxic for swimming.
This sacred glacial erratic marks the location of what may have been both the Shinnecock Fort and June Meeting location in the Shinnecock Hills. There have been many references to a contact-period Shinnecock fort, but the specific location has likely been disrupted by development.
June Meeting is a Presbyterian and Algonquian inspired celebration and gathering for Eastern Long Island tribes started by Reverend John Cuffee in the 1700s and continued annually on the first Sunday in June. It’s a time of dance, feasts and the passing down of stories and traditions. The Unkechaug tribe continue this traditional seasonal celebration in the western town of Mastic.
Known as the last building with direct connection to Freetown, a small village inhabited by freed African slaves and Montaukett Indians, St Matthew’s Chapel,was attended by African, Indian, and whites local residents on Three Mile Harbor Road.
In 1976, the building was purchased by Richard C. Sage and moved to the Maidstone Marina boatyard to be used as a chapel for mariners. The building remains today; however, the interior has been changed into a fitness center to accommodate guests.
The first known inhabitants of East Hampton and Montauk town were the aboriginal Montaukett — a place name spelled a dozen different ways in early records. It was not a “tribal” name, but a place name which the colonists conferred upon them as they designated them as a “tribe.” The meaning of Montaukett in William Wallace Tooker‘s Indian Place Names on Long Island is given as either the “high or hilly land” or the “fort country”– both of which appear to fit Montauk topography and the presence of two fortified places. 1
Island Sheltered by Islands, Shelter Island
Manhansack-aqua-quash-awamock, the traditional Algonquian name for Shelter Island by the Manhanset group who lived there from pre-historic time until the seventeenth century; is approximately 7907 acres in area. This island is unique for having the largest glacial erratic boulders on Long Island, resulting from the Wisconsonian glacier.1
In 1657, houses were burned in Southampton village by two Shinnecock men and a black woman who served in one of the houses belonging to Eleanor Howell, widow of Edward Howell a founder of the town. The motive may have been in retaliation for the mistreatment of servants in the Howell home, or in response to roaming horses from Southampton destroying Shinnecock corn fields
Colonial authorities in Hartford sent a troop of nineteen men under the command of John Mason, who commanded the massacre of the Pequot at Mystic during the Pequot War. When Mason levied a fine of £700 on the Shinnecock community, Wyandanch went to Hartford and sent a representative to Boston to convince the authorities to reduce the £700 fine to £500. While the damage was minimal, large fines were often used as a form of control and land acquisition if indigenous communities couldn’t pay the fine.
“Sachem’s Hole,” also known as Buc-usk–kil, resting place, is the site where the late Manhasset Sachem Poggatticut was laid upon the ground as he was being brought from Shelter Island to Montauk for interment in 1651.
From that point on, the area was always kept clear of leaves and debris by local tribal members traveling that route until the site was eventually destroyed by Turnpike 114.
A historical marker erected in 1935 by the State Education Department stands on that spot today.
Messemennuck was once a western territory boundary of the Shinnecock people. Cat-tail ‘flag’ reeds were gathered here to become roofs of wigwams, and the river was bountiful in Alewive fish, whose population has lowered due to their dependency on fresh-water sources for their spawning.
A small 17th century flaking workshop was found here, north of a large village site. Three thousand stone scrapers were found on the surface, collected since the 1880s.
A confused appreciation – In 1933, artist Elliott Brooks carved several relief sculptures, two in memory of the Montaukett and Poquatuck people of Long Islands east end. Later he describes desecrating a prehistoric burial,
“.. while I dig around for Indian relics, it proved to be a ceremonial burial mound, and I like to imagine that the Indian spirits led me to the cache in appreciation of my carving the memorial.”
The territory of this chieftaincy was adjoined by the Matinecocks on the west and extended eastward from the Nissequogue River to Stony Brook and south to the center of the Island. Apparently, there was a disagreement for a time between the Nissequogue and Matinecock Indians concerning their boundary and, as a consequence, they did not always enjoy friendly relations. They had extensive villages at Smithtown and at several other places near the shore within the bounds of their territory.
The Shinnecock Presbyterian church on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation has been described as “the oldest, ongoing Native American church in America.”
A regular schedule of tribal gatherings occur here, including the annual June Meeting, Indian Thanksgiving dinner and harvest celebrations. For many years, tribal meetings and Tribal Council elections were held in the Parish Hall before taking place in the Tribal Community Center.
The Shinnecock Powwow was first organized by the Presbyterian church congregation as a cultural celebration and fund raising event.
The cultural period receives its name from the fish shaped projectile points with distinct shoulders.
During this period, the areas used for ceremonial burials were greatly removed from habitation areas, suggesting a reverence for their preservation. Oral stories support this hypothesis.
Once a Native American hunting and fishing ground, Sylvester Manor has since 1652 been home to eleven generation of its original European settler family with a long intact history of America’s evolving tastes, economies, multi-cultural interaction, and landscapes.
Sylvester Manor is a house first constructed c. 1652 for Nathaniel and Grizzell Sylvester, their eleven children, and likely several slaves and indentured servants. This original house remained intact until c. 1737, until Nathaniel’s grandson, Brinley Sylvester, rebuilt the residence close to the same location.
The Sebonac Creek Site is a Shinnecock settlement occupied from the Late Woodland period until the contact period. A stone pottery fragment resembling a Thunderbird design was found along with evidence of a large wigwam ( 15 by 20 feet ), accompanied by another smaller wigwam (15 by 10 feet) southeast. In the center was a fireplace. Also to the east, a burial was discovered, containing one body.
Today, the Sebonac Creek site is situated on the edge of the National Golf Links of America.
Sugar Loaf Hill is an Orient Period burial site facing south eastern, the only Orient burial site known outside of the North Fork of Long Island. During the 20th century, despite being known and marked on maps as early as 1797, the burial grounds were desecrated and developed for contemporary residence.
The end of the woods
The indigenous peoples who inhabited the general area of Noyack were a small segment of the Shinnecock, known as the Weckatuck (meaning “end of the woods or trees, or end of the cove or creek.” Sometimes spelled Wickatuck, Wecutake, Wecatuck, Weckatuck, Weeckatuck) . Described by Southampton in a 1964 publication, they were peace loving Indians who settled in isolated groups and lived off shellfish and game. They farmed to a limited degree. Six or eight families lived on one site until the farming land was exhausted, or until collection of refuse became a serious problem. The largest known encampment of Noyack Indians was beside the Mill Pond, now known as the Trout Pond. The last known Weckatucks lived in a teepee back of Mill Pond shortly before the end of the nineteenth century. 1
The Stony Brook Site is a prehistoric Indian Village located in the town of Stony Brook, New York, often described as an area on the North Store of “Aunt Amy’s Creek.” Found in 1956 and later excavated by William A. Ritchie in 1959, Ritchie describes the component as “Indians [who] are believed to be of the pre-ceramic archaic group who wandered from one semi-permanent camp to the next from c. 3000 B.C to 1000 B.C.” In 1981, Edward Johannemann, director of the Long Island Archaeological Project at the State University at Stony Brook, described the site as a 3,000 year old weapons factory. 1
In 2003, a group burial was discovering during residential development and a house barn construction, dating back to between 1400 to 1640 AD. Shinnecock tribal members argued against further disruption of the soil, seeing the proposed barn as a cemetery site.
Despite resistance, the private owners continued development while the remains were reburied in an undisclosed location on Shelter Island.
The final court decision in 1961 resulted in success for the Shinnecock Tribe, preserving the land as part of the reservation. The foundations for the houses can still be seen today.
The Duke site, named after Anthony Drexel Duke, is a site that was excavated by the New York State Archaeological Association, L.I. Chapter in 1974. On this site, a shell midden was found, suggesting the presence of indigenous occupation in the area.
Nearby is the well-document Ashawagh settlement site, located on the shore of Hand’s Creek, west of Three Mile Harbor.
Eastville in Sag Harbor is a contemporary community, formed largely the descendants of Freed Native and black slaves, black and Native whalers, and European settlers. The neighborhood was first established in the early twentieth century by free people of color, who then increased in size as whites.
Eastville, being located at a major whaling port, was the destination for many Montauketts seeking economic opportunities during the nineteenth century. Later in the twentieth century, community members worked in the local industrialized factories.1
West Woods is a four hundred acre beach and woodland area owned by the Shinnecock Tribe. The woodland and beach area is used for contemporary social gatherings, weddings, celebrations, camping, and sweat lodge ceremonies.
In recent times, West Woods has been encroached upon with it’s blurred boundaries.
This site along the south eastern shore was occupied seasonally during the Late Woodland Period (1,200 – 350 years ago) as a recurring base camp for nomadic hunter-gatherers and their extended families.
As early as 1661, the place name Konkhunganik was recorded from Montauketts during the creation of a land deed. The translation of Konkhunganik is currently unknown, but early 20th centruy anthropologist William Wallace Tooker believed the name translates to “at the boundary.”
The Fort Corchaug Site is an archaeological site showing evidence of 17th-century contact between Native Americans and Europeans, categorizing it as a post-contact site. Fort Corchaug itself was a log fort built by Native Americans with the help of Europeans, potentially serving as protection for the Corchaug tribe against other tribes.
The site involved possibly repeated seasonal occupation or year-round occupation by a large number of people during the period c. 1630-1660. Significance evidence of food preparation, site defense and a number of activities were uncovered during archaeological study.1
Conscience Point is the approximate landing place of the first English colonists who arrived here in June of 1640. The Shinnecock Indians lived around the harbor for many centuries before the arrival of the English who subsequently settled in the vicinity of the present Southampton Village. Both the early settlers and the Native Americans benefited from the productivity of the marsh-bordered land and harbor.
Conscience Point is owned by the Southampton Historical Museum.
At the big neck
The Shinnecock Indian Reservation is a self-governing reservation. The reservation has a museum, shellfish hatchery, education center, cultural and community center, playground, and Presbyterian church.
In 1972, the Shinnecock Native American Cultural Coalition (SNACC) was formed to establish a Native American arts and crafts program. Traditional dancing, beadwork, Native American crafts, and music are studied. The Cultural Enrichment Program is a sharing and learning process that the community has engaged in to ensure that the ideals and traditions of their ancestors are passed down through the generations. It involves sharing knowledge of food, clothing, arts, crafts, dance, ceremonies, and language.
Niamuck was once the primary location of settlement for the Shinnecock people prior to the current Shinnecock Reservation. From the current Shinnecock Canal to the southern most land tip, the Shinnecock people existed before contact. This land was formally lost to the Shinnecock in 1703, but historical maps show continued indigenous presence until the mid 19th century.
In 1791, Rev. Paul Cuffee organized a Congressional church in the Niamuck area. Part of the church remains in the area while the other half was moved to the Shinnecock Reservation and is still used today. Cuffee was buried on the spot where the church once stood.
A single fenced grave marks the burial location of Reverend Paul Cuffee. This site was chosen for his burial as it was once the meeting place for the old Indian church location. It also exists within “Good Ground,” the old name of Hampton Bays.
Cuffee, a Shinnecock Indian, was a celebrated minister, like his grandfather Peter John, who preached to Indians of Long Island. Cuffee, during his youth, was an indentured servant to a Wading River farmer who then became an enthusiastic convert in his early 20s. Cuffee preached among Indian communities, including the Poospatuck Reservation (present day Mastic Beach); Canoe Place in Hampton Bays, and in the end, Montauk. These vigorous preacher’s services were attended by large crowds.
The Springy Banks site has been described as a favorite summer camping grounds of the Montauk.
It receives its name from numerous delicious flowing springs of water that flow from the base of the cliffs here. Many an East Hampton and Three Mile Harbor residents speak with nostalgia of the sweet draughts of water that they enjoyed from Springy Banks when it was Town Property.
Four prehistoric human remains were found at Reeve Farm Site in 1961, sparking public and archaeological attention. For decades following, local residents flocked to the farm in an attempt to uncover more remains and artifacts.
The skeletal remains were purchased by the Bridgehampton Historical Society and displayed there for several years. Their fate is now unknown.
The Unkechaug Nation maintains a sovereign relationship with the State of New York, other Indian Nations in the United States and Canada and other foreign powers. The Unkechaug Nation is located on the Poospatuck (“where the waters meet”) Reservation in Long Island, NY.
Under the provisions of colonial laws and later under the New York State Constitution (Article 12) the State of New York formally recognized the Unkechaug Nation of Indians in the 18th century. 1500 acres of land that had been long held by the Unkechaug and that continued from an original land agreement entered into with the King of England and the Unkechaug in the 17th century was set aside for the exclusive use of the Unkechaug. Today, that allotment has been stripped down to 55 acres; nevertheless, the affinity of the people to the land is as strong as in the past, if not even stronger today. The total population of tribal members, families, and extended relations is 450 of which approximately 250 reside on the Poospatuck Reservation. Housing density, and occupancy levels are unacceptable when measured against the rate of population growth and available land as well as the number of tribal members who want to return to their traditional homeland. The Unkechaug are faced with a rate of population growth greater than the national average and an increased demand for tribal services. Housing is an important priority but efforts to expand housing for tribal members are blocked by a lack of land. The Unkechaug are committed to increasing the land base in order to meet the needs of their members. 1
At Great Sky
Missi Kesukut is a sacred site that was first preserved in 1991. In 2006, a skull was found in the area, identifying the area as a cemetery and at one time an Indian village. This discovery led to several years of local indigenous groups to dispute whether the area should be developed or remain as it is.
Today, Missi Kesukut is protected by the town district who allocated Community Preservation Funds to purchase the land from the private land owner for it’s preservation.
During this cultural period, distinct spiritual and ceremonial burials were practiced; including “killed” steatite bowls, burial offerings, red ochre caches, and dog sacrifices.
In February 2017, Riverhead town purchased this site for due to its cultural significance. It is the last known Orient Period burial site still remaining.
Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Post-Contact
Early Woodland, Late Woodland
Archaic, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Orient (Transitional), Paleo-Indian, Post-Contact
Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Post-Contact
Archaic, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Orient (Transitional)
Late Woodland, Post-Contact
Archaic, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Orient (Transitional)
Early Woodland, Orient (Transitional)
Late Woodland, Post-Contact
Archaic, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Paleo-Indian
Contemporary, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Post-Contact
Archaic, Contemporary, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Orient (Transitional), Post-Contact
Late Woodland, Post-Contact
Early Woodland, Late Woodland