Unkechaug Indian Reservation

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. https://unkechaug.wordpress.com/about/]

Worison – Unkechaug Whaler

Introduction Worison (also known as Warishone or Waishone) was an Unkechaug Indian who lived in the 17th century.   History Worison lived on the western edge of Watchogue, a neck of land at East Moriches, Brookhaven Town. His home was likely on a neck of land now called Mamanok (located between Mattuck Brook and Pomiches … Read more

Chief Harry Wallace of the Unkechaug

Chief Harry Wallace and Jannelle Edwards at the Unkechaug craft table, Gathering of Nature Day, Center Moriches School, April 26, 1996. Photo from John Strong’s ‘We Are Still Here’ Introduction Harry Wallace is the Chief of the Unkechaug nation on Poospatuck land in Mastic, New York. History 1994 On an April 5th, 1994 tribal election … Read more

Educational Resources

The Common Pot – The Recovery of Native Space in the North East – Lisa Brooks (Abenaki author) https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/the-common-pot Lisa Brooks demonstrates the ways in which Native leaders—including Samson Occom, Joseph Brant, Hendrick Aupaumut, and William Apess—adopted writing as a tool to reclaim rights and land in the Native networks of what is now the … Read more

Language

Introduction The language spoken on Long Island and in southern New England are all part of the Eastern Algonquian language family.1 The Unkechaug language, for example, shares a vowel pattern with northern New England languages such as Abenaki and Micmac.2 Native women and men have carried on their lives and their expression through the use … Read more

Creation of Long Island

Introduction Ages ago, what is now New England and New York State was covered by the great Wisconsin glacier. Then, about ten thousand years ago, the glacier receded, leaving behind deposits of sand, rock, and soil that gradually formed Long Island. The receding glacier carved out a huge depression, which soon filled with water, forming … Read more

William Floyd Estate

In exchange for reconfirming previous land deeds between the Unkechaug and colonist Colonel William Tangier Smith, Smith granted in perpetuity one hundred and seventy-five acres of land to the tribe on Mastic Neck.

The grant stated that the Unkechaug, “their children and the posterity of their children forever shall without molestation from me or my heirs or assigns shall and may plant and sowe forever” and added that the Indians could not sell, convey, or alienate this planting right or any part thereof to any persons whatsoever.

The bounds of the deed were unfortunately blurred, and the Unkechaug now only retain fifty of the original one hundred and seventy-five acres, including the tract of the historic William Floyd Estate. Unkechaug people are recorded as living on the estate during the early 1700s and later archaeological reports confirm wigwam and planting grounds.

Contact & Feedback

To contact tribal offices or the author of this project, please select from the following options: Jeremy Dennis – Shinnecock Indian Nation artist and photographer [email protected] 631-566-0486   Contact Long Island Tribal Nations Shinnecock Indian Nation, Southampton and surrounding regions Shinnecock Nation Tribal Office  [email protected] (631) 283-6143   Unkechaug Indian Nation – Mastic, Islip, Quogue … Read more

Tribal Trustees

Introduction In 1792, Shinnecock‘s Tribal Trustee system was established by the State of New York when the three-person (male) trustee system of tribal government went into effect.1 History 1793 The ‘Receipt for Indian Lease’ for Shinnecock’s 1703 lease of the Shinnecock Hills was signed on April 13, 1793, by Absalom Cuffee, David Jacobs, and Abraham … Read more

Fishing

Introduction The sea and fish have served an important role of sustaining Indian life on Long Island, providing sustenance, occupational opportunities from whaling to wampum manufacturing, and a base for cultural identity. History Archaic PeriodWoodland Period On Long Island, many archaic period settlements were situated along tidal bays and open waters. Shellfish were … Read more

William Wallace Tooker

Introduction Courtesy East Hampton Library Long Island Collection William Wallace Tooker (1848-1917) spent his entire life in Sag Harbor, Long Island. At the age of 5 he began collecting Indian relics, which, by 1895 consisted of nearly 15,000 pieces, one of the largest collections in the United States at that time.  As a youth he … Read more

The Tribes of Long Island

1 Introduction The inhabitants of Long Island shared a desire for peace. They became expert whalers and deep sea fishermen. They worshiped the same gods and placated the same evil spirits. They talked the same language and followed the same customs in dress and decorations. Among them, wampum retained common values. They erected their dwellings … Read more

Spirituality, Ceremony, & Cosmology

Sebonac Site Thunderbird Fragment Introduction The Native peoples of Long Island view the natural ecosystem very differently than the Europeans. They saw the natural world around them as a living, sacred entity that must be respected and protected from overuse. The Native peoples had studied and learned about their homeland for thousands of years . Their … Read more

Whaling

Whaling Mural by Denise Silva-Dennis on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation Community Center Introduction The whale fishery of eastern Long Island was initially developed by Native Americans in the Woodland Period of 1,000 – 1,640 A.D. The Indians hunted whale along the shore with spears, prizing fins and tails for what is interpreted as ceremonial importance. … Read more

About

On This Site: Indigenous Long Island Jeremy Dennis, enrolled Shinnecock Indian Nation tribal member. Photo by Cristin Millet, Penn State. On This Site is an art-based photography project by Shinnecock artist Jeremy Dennis. The purpose of this project is to preserve and create awareness of culturally significant Native American locations on Long Island, New York. This project presents an … Read more

Sweat Lodge

Contemporary Sweat Lodge, in-construction, at West Woods in Hampton Bays. Introduction Sweat Lodges are temporary structures used for ceremonial purposes, used widely throughout North American indigenous tribes. Pre-historic lodges are normally found along water edges as a component used at the end of the ceremony. Stone cobbles are normally found in the center enclosed by a circle … Read more

Sachem Warawakmy of the Setauket

Introduction Sachem Warawakmy is one of the 17th century Setauket Sachems who negotiated land deeds with the English Colonies. History 1655 The Warawakmy Deed, April 14, 1655 In 1655, Warawakmy, the chief of the Setauket, opened negotiations with English entrepreneurs who came from Southold for a thirty-two square mile tract of land on the north … Read more