Appaquogue is an important site that was once used to harvest cat-tail flag reeds for wigwam creation - thus receiving the name "a place where flags grow." Today, the pond is known as Lily Pond. On the edge of the water, a much more common reed known as Phragmites remains, though this plant is also known as wigwam roof material.
Ashawagh is a pre-contact Montaukett settlement on the edge of Copeces, now Hand's Creek. Shell heaps in the area suggest intense wampum manufacturing. This place was particularly important for hunting, fishing, and camping.
Ayeuonganit Wampum Ayimꝏup, Here, Wampum Was Made, also known as Parrish Pond, is the site of a former Shinnecock wampum-manufacturing site. In 2000, 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. All four of the Shinnecock protesters and Zellner were either acquitted or had their cases dropped or dismissed. In 2014, Southampton Town Board agreed to allocate $900,000 from the Community Preservation Fund to preserve the 1.5-acre cultural site. During this year, Shinnecock Tribal Member and cultural activist Elizabeth Haile shared the importance of this site, as it had the perfect combination of a running stream and a particular species of heather grass that was used to polish wampum shells for beads.
The Bethel-Christian Avenue-Laurel Hill Historic District (BCALH) was established and recognized by the Town of Brookhaven in 2005. It is a half-mile long stretch of Christian Avenue that includes the homes of several mixed heritage Native American and African American families as well as Bethel AME Church of Setauket, Laurel Hill Cemetery, and the Irving Hart Memorial Legion Hall. The BCALH was founded in response to the loss of the R.W. Hawkins house, a small 19th century cottage that was home to members of the Calvin family for most of the 20th century. Despite being recognized as a historic structure, it was torn down by a developer who built a new, out-of-scale home in its place.
The 'Canarsie' Indians were the original inhabitants of what is now the Brooklyn borough, extending eastward to take in part of the town of Jamaica. Their language was more comparable to those living in nearby Manhattan and New Jersey known as the Lenape. Europeans first contact the Canarsie in the early 1600s.
The Canoe Place Chapel, erected circa 1820, was the primary Shinnecock church while they still resided at Canoe Place. The chapel is undergoing renovation to be used for social gatherings.
Cataconacke, a name given by the Setauket, is a plot of land now formally known as "Old Field," attributed by the English. The land was once located north of the original Setauket colonial settlement until 1659.
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.
The Corchaugs controlled the land to the east of the Setaukets. Their territory was bounded on the west by a line extending from Wading River to the center of the Island and east along the north fluke of the Island to Orient Point. They also occupied several of the necks of land along the north shore of Peconic Bay.
In 1952, The Great Cove Real Estate Company attempted to build houses on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation just south of Montauk Highway in an attempt to steal Shinnecock Land. 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. Allison Manfra McGovern, Termination and Survivance Among the Montauketts, pp. 226] The heart of Eastville - the St. David A.M.E. Zion Church (seen in first photo), was built in 1840.
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 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. The interaction between the Corchaug Indians and Eurocpeans (English and Dutch) primarily regarded the manufacturing and trade of Wampum. Fort Corchaug itself was a log fort built by Native Americans with the help of Europeans (by which some suggest the rectangle/square shape is influenced), 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. R. Miller, 1990] Archaeologist Ralph Solecki described Fort Corchaug in 1992 as the best preserved historic Indian site on the eastern seaboard. At the time, the site had never been cultivated or disturbed in its 340-year-old history. He believed it was the last historic remnant of the Corchaug Indians on eastern Long Island, and the best preserved of the forts linking the confederacy of the north and south fork Indians [1. Solecki, Ralph Stefen. Letter to Ronnie Wacker. 13 Nov. 1992. MS. N.p.] Today Fort Corchaug is a National Historic Landmark, recognized on January 20th, 1999. Located on Downs Farm Preserve, which preserves 51 acres of scenic woodlands and tidal wetlands, serving as a valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife. [1. http://www.groupfortheeastend.org/what-we-do/education/downs-farm-preserve-nature-center/]
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. According to Shinnecock oral history, this site, similar to other council rocks, were the places for indigenous leaders to gather for important meetings. Today, this land is located off of the current bounds of the Shinnecock reservation. The town of Southampton bought and preserved the area using it's Community Preservation Fund for it's cultural significance.
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.
In 1649, Phoebe Halsey was murdered by Indians in Southampton. Montaukett Sachem Wyandanch consulted with Lion Gardiner, who urged him to go to Southampton and capture those responsible for the murder. After capturing three men responsible, the three men were brought to Hartford, CT to be hanged, and Wyandanch had been given control over the Shinnecock lands
On Monday, August 13th, 2018, skeleton remains were found during residential development on Hawthrone Road in the Shinnecock Hills. The developers and homeowners contacted the Southampton Town and Suffolk County police department, who quickly disturbed the ground further for evidence of recent criminal activity. Along with human remains, a glass bottle from the 17th-century contact period was found, indicating a likelihood of the remains being of Native American descent with burial offerings. The Shinnecock Indian Nation arrived on the site soon after the detectives with the goal of overlooking the development. If the remains are from Native descent, the tribe encourages the town to use it's Community Preservation Fund to preserve the lot and respect the burial.
On October 3, 1665, the Deed to Hog's Neck (North Haven) was signed. It read; "The Shelter Island Indians have this day confirmed the purchase of Hog Neck to Southampton men, forever serving liberty of hunting and fishing and fowling upon same, and have received six Indian coats upon the confirmation thereof. The full satisfaction of all their claims to Southampton men." According to William Wallace Tooker, the traditional Algonquian name of Hog's Neck was "Hoggenoch" which was corrupted to "Hog's Neck." Another interpretation is that the early 'copyists' thought that "Hog's Neck" was too crude and created a psudo-Indian name. The name Northhaven became more popular in the early 20th century. Image: Hog's Neck (Northhaven) Town Hall.
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.
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.
Indian Fields is a settlement site for the Montaukett Indians with evidence of occupation from the pre-contact Paleo-Indian period until May 1885. This terrain of 1200 acres of rolling grassland and brush is now a Suffolk County Park.
Indian Island is a site of spiritual significance. During a 2005 storm, the beach eroded exposing burials and artifacts. The Shinnecock and Unkechaug, in cooperation with the Riverhead Park and Town supervisors, repatriated the remains. The area is within the Indian Island Park, used for camping.
At the time of European contact, this area was occupied by a people known as the Agawam or Jabash, possibly a sub-group or village of the large Shinnecock tribe. An Indian trail was located along or near what is now Montauk highway leading to this village site, however no material culture was found during archaeological investigation.
The Jamesport Site is an Orient Period (1,000 - 1,300 BC) ceremonial burial ground.
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.
Killis is a pond in Bridgehampton town that received it's name from an Indian who formerly lived near the water. Kellis [Killis] is also a traditional Shinnecock surname.
Kitchaminchok is a sacred place to the Unkechaug people, known for it's drift whaling. Historically, it is part of a boundary marker mentioned in a 17th century agreement between Sachem Wyandanch and Lion Gardiner that permitted Gardiner to pay five pounds (potentially eight hundred pounds today [1. https://www.measuringworth.com/]) for every complete whale carcass that came ashore.
Fort Pond in Montauk was once called Konkhunganik by the Montaukett Indians before and during the 1800s at its southern half and Quanuntowunk for its north shore. 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."
Around 1844, the “Little Church” is built on the reservation. It was a Millerite Church, a branch of the 7th day Adventist Congregationalist church. The Millerites were part of the great revival from upstate NY. Today, there is little evidence of the church beyond photographs.
On Mamanock Neck, a prehistoric Woodland camp and quartz arrowhead workshop site was found. Much of the material culture in this area suggesting human settlement was pottery fragments. The area of Mamanock Neck covers the entirety of the neck of land of what is now south of East Moriches. This camp site only represents a fraction of what was found in contemporary time.
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. Englebright, 1982]
Manitou Hill is a sacred hill located on what is now known as Manetto Hill in Plainview, New York. An oral story, recorded by historian Gabriel Furman in 1874, describes a legend during a great drought. The Manitou instructs a sachem through a dream to stand at the top of Manetto Hill and fire an arrow into the air, and on the spot where the arrow lands, people should dig until they find water. The water spring that was found, called Mascopas, is now beneath a local high school athletic field. Manitou is known in traditional systems as the powerful and unseen power throughout the universe, being present during moments of the miraculous and mysterious.
The Manor of St. George was established in 1696 by Colonel William Tangier Smith, who was an early settler of Brookhaven. After 1683, Smith arrived on Long Island and was granted a large tract of land from Long Island Sound to the South Shore, and established himself as a leading citizen of Suffolk County. He kept important records relating to Native American laborers and whalers in what is called "The Pigskin Book," documenting work transactions between him and local Unkechaug natives from 1696 - 1721. After Smith's death in 1705, occasional entries were made including indenture agreements for African American and Native American children. The book became an important research document pertaining to Long Island Indians and whaling during an earlier period when small, twenty-eight foot cedar boats carrying six-man crews hunted whales within a few miles of the shore. Reverend Peter John Cuffee, a preacher sometimes referred to as "Priest Peter" and an Unkechaug native, worked and lived at the manor. He was born in Hay Ground, near Bridgehampton, in 1712. After being converted in 1744, he served the Christian ministry following Samsom Occums departure of Long Island. He worked with Indian communities as far west as Islip, founded several churches, and was given a commission by the New York Missionary Society to preach to the Shinnecock. Peter John preached for fifty-six years until his grandson and successor was brought into the missionary - Reverend Paul Cuffee, who was a member of the Shinnecock tribe in Southampton. He died at the age of eighty-eight and was buried on the Poosepatuck Indian Reservation in Mastic, NY.
Matinecock Way is a street co-named in 2015 to honor the Matinecock Indian Tribe who once lived in villages throughout the towns of Flushing, Pomonok, College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Douglaston, and Little Neck. The naming ceremony was attended by local members of the Matinecock tribe, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, and historian Jason D. Antos. The street marker is located on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway.
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.
The Mica Tablet site in Brookhaven is believed to be the area where the unique Mica Tablet was found. The area, being in the "Fire Place" region of Brookhaven, is a sacred spot of the Unkechaug people. South of where the tablet was found, whales were traditionally brought in and their blubber rendered to oil. The tablet currently remains at the New York State Museum.
Minasseroke (now called Little Neck, or Strongs Neck) is located in Setauket town, between Old-field or Conscience Bay and Setauket Harbor. It is believed to have been the sacred residence of a Setalcott Sachem and his people. Artifacts and funerary objects have been found in the area. In 1663, the majority of this land was bought by Daniel Lane, while a remaining 70 acres called "Indian Ground" was purchased by Andrew Gibb on November 28th, 1685. This designation was conveyed by the original Native people who lived there to Andrew Gibb in 1685. [1. William Wallace Tooker, Indian Place Names on Long Island, 1911, pp. 131] A part of it is still known as "Indian Ground," with a sign dedicated to its acknowledgment.
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.
Now leveled, the Molly's Hill site is located in Springs where Fireplace Road and Gerard Drive meet; said to be named for Molly Pharaoh, Stephen Talkhouse's mother, who lived from 1819 to 1879.
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. Tooker, William Wallace, Indian Place Names on Long Island..., 1911, 1962, Ira J. Friedman Pub., p. 141.] The Montauketts are members of the large Algonkian language family and peoples who inhabited the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Canada to the Carolinas; they spoke a variant of the language of the Mohegan-Pequot, across the Long Island Sound from them. [1. Levine, Gaynell Stone & Nancy Bonvillain, Languages & Lore of the Long Island Indians, Vol. IV, Readings..., 1980, SCAA, p. 168.]
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 southernmost land tip, the Shinnecock people existed before contact. Shinnecock people primarily resided in the area until ca. 1703, though historical maps show continued 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. This place is now known as the Shinnecock Canal.
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.
Noyack was once a village site with evidence of dwellings, burials, cooking hearths, animal remains, and tools. Evidence of both Niantic culture and Sebonic culture are found in the area. Noyack takes its name from the long point or neck of land now known as Jessup's Neck, at one time called "Farrington's Point." [1. William Wallace Tooker, Indian Place Names on Long Island, 1911, pp. 166]
The Orient Site is one of four known Orient Period (1,300 - 1,000 BC) burials on eastern Long Island. 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.
Pahquahkossit is a winter camp site located in what is now known as Wading River. Based on pre-fishtail arrowheads found, the site is identified as an archaic period settlement, with evidence of occupation as early as 2595 BC.
Pattersquash is an island located in what was originally Unkechaug territory. Pattersquash was first documented in 1670 in a land transaction. Pattersquash is also mentioned in the published Nesaquake Tales, compiled by Rufus B. Langhans. He writes the Indians are credited with believing that Lake Ronkonkoma was bottomless and connected with the Great South Bay at a place called by them Pattersquash. Pattersquash translated becomes "little round place."
Patuckquapaug, located on the edge of what is now known as Round Pond in Sag Harbor, was once a village site for what was likely a subgroup of the Shinnecock.
In 1997, the Pell case began, involving an attempt to steal Shinnecock Reservation land. On a strip of land south of Montauk Highway and the Tide Water Pub, the Shinnecock tribe successfully defended the land from being taken and developed.
Pesapunck has continuously remained as farmland from the earliest colonial period to the present, but the place-name translates to “hothouse,” which once stood there. The 'hot-house' is now more commonly referred to as a 'sweat lodge.' On Long Island, they were described as six to eight feet tall, round, and built on the side of a brook or hill – with ten to twenty men entering and heating the interior to extreme temperature for cleansing their mind and body – sweat lodges are still used today.
Quonettquott, meaning at the long river, is a commonly found name for rivers throughout Long Island and southern New England. Its name can be applied to describe similar rivers and the name had been preserved through early land deeds with various spelling. Today, this river is known as Connetquot River in Islip.
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.
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.
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. His broken grave marker reads: In testifying the Gospel of the Grace of God He finished his course with Joy on 7th of March 1812 Aged 55 years and Three Days.
Unkechaug, a name for the nation of indigenous peoples living in Mastic, New York, translates to "people from beyond the hill." Today, these hills are part of the Ronkonkoma Moraine, a chain of hills that span the center of Long Island. The Unkechaug Nations territory once ran along the south of the Ronkonkoma Moraine.
"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.
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.
The Setalcott Powwow and Annual Corn Festival are held every July 11th at the Setauket Elementary School. The goal of the event is to educate the public about Setalcott family history and culture, as well as recognizing the continued presence of local tribal members. The Powwow was founded by Theodore Green in 2005, who had been chief of the Setalcott at the time, and later passed in 2007.
During the early 20th century, Thomas Henry Williams, a non-Shinnecock Tribal Member who taught at the little school at Shinnecock, and Rose Kellis-Williams, a Shinnecock, opened his cornfield on the reservation to summer colony residents Peter Brooks, his wife, and others who had planes. At one time, Peter Brooks once owned the now developed Sugar Loaf Hill Cemetery. Occasionally Brooks would give rides to Shinnecock Tribal members in his plane.
In 1891, one hundred and fifty Shinnecock tribal members assisted in laying out the first 12 holes of what was to become the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Willie Dunn, Scottish Professional and course developer said several years into development;
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.
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. They currently have over 1,200 enrolled members. Every Labor Day Weekend since 1946, the reservation hosts a powwow, based on ceremonies beginning in 1912. The Shinnecock Powwow is ranked by USA Today as one of the ten great powwows held in the United States. In 2008, the powwow attracted 50,000 visitors.
The Shinnecock Monument is an economic development project launched in early May 2019. The Shinnecock Nation's goal with this project is to generate revenue to provide for its people. Being a sovereign nation, The Shinnecock Nation maintains the right to build on its land and pursue commerce free from civil regulatory restrictions improperly imposed by New York State.
The Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum is the first and only Native American owned and operated museum on Long Island dedicated to honoring the ancestral and living history as Algonquin descendants. The museum serves nearly ten thousand visitors annually, as an educational and cultural entity for collecting, preserving and interpreting artifacts, documents, and other material related to Shinnecock and Eastern Woodland history and culture.
The original purpose of the Shinnecock Oyster Project was to develop a shellfish production system through the means of a hatchery that is versatile to rear a variety of shellfish. It began when the Shinnecock tribe applied for a grant from the New York Community Trust Fund in 1974. With the help from the four students and the' American Indian Development Association, which assists Indians to farm the waters and land, the tribe organized the Shinnecock Tribal Oyster Project to research the possibility of replenishing Shinnecock Bay. In addition to revitalizing the Bay, the Oyster Project was a source of jobs and cultural pride for Shinnecock tribal members. The shellfish industry has deteriorated dramatically from the 1950's to 1950's due to overharvesting and the introduction of disease, oyster drills, and starfish. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Shinnecock Oyster Project was discontinued, then later revived around 2006.
Formally organized in 1946, the Shinnecock Powwow is a decades long traditional and cultural celebration that takes place on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. Every year on Labor Day weekend, the Powwow takes place on Shinnecock and is open to the public. The annual four-day Shinnecock Labor Day Powwow attracts more than 15,000 attendees each day and serves as both a cultural focal point and fundraiser for the Nation. The Powwow began as historical 'pageants' that took place throughout Southampton Town, Conscience Point, and the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. These pageants involved colonial/pilgrim figures with the intent of reenacting early contact-period historical interactions between Europeans and Indians (such as the 1640 arrival from Massachusetts).
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 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.
At the mouth of Carman's River, Squassux Landing is named after a Native American potter who worked along the west side of the river at the end of Beaver Dam road. Before being used as a place to sail to the barrier beach, Native Americans set out to hunt whales from Squassux. Later, the site was used as a landing place for whaling crews stationed on Fire Island.
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 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. Tracing L.I. Life 3,000 Years Ago. NY Times Judi Culbertson 1981] The written report of this site describes the contemporary landscape as an "Area possibly destroyed by housing development."
Sugar Loaf Hill is an Orient Period burial site facing southeastern, 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 a contemporary residence.
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. Today, the house and acreage are known as the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. Their mission is to cultivate, preserve, and share the lands, buildings, and stories inviting new thought about the importance of organic food, culture and place in our daily lives. [1. http://sylvestermanor.org/our-manor/the-house/]
Known as The Point to Shinnecock Reservation residents, this marshland has been used as a communal resource for fishing and hunting for many generations. Many of the Shinnecock youth continue to learn hunting skills by their parents here. Snow Geese, Shade Bushes, and Huckleberries are among the varied natural resources utilized and respected in this area.
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/]
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 wigwam in the back of Mill Pond shortly before the end of the nineteenth century. [1. Southampton, Long Island 325th Anniversary 1640/1965 pp 33]
The Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of seven national wildlife refuges, two refuge sub-units, and one wildlife management area. Collectively, the ten units are approximately 6,500 acres in size. Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge is home to the refuge complex headquarters and visitor center. In 2011 the refuge opened. The opening concluded with an honoring and blessing ceremony conducted by members of the Unkechaug and Shinnecock Indian Nations. Within the visitor center, an area of the museum is dedicated to the local Unkechaug tribal history in the area, reinforcing their connection to the land and sustainable lifestyle. The display is in collaboration with the Unkechaug, featuring drawings and beadwork from indigenous artists, family photographs, and quotes from tribal members that represent their story and values.
West Woods is a forty 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. At the start of the 1747 100-year timber lease to the Shinnecock by Southampton Town, the land encompassed one hundred acres.
The West Woods sweat lodge is a contemporary ceremonial site for the Shinnecock Tribe. Located in West Woods, a private and shared area among the Shinnecock people, the sweat lodge is used for initiation ceremony for young adults transitioning to adulthood.
Whale's fin is a sacred site for the Shinnecock, located two and a half miles south west from the current reservation and two miles south east from Canoe Place. Here, the whales were known to beach, potentially as an offering for sustenance to the Shinnecock in the area.
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.
Yaphank, a village in Brookhaven town, was originally the name of the creek south of the hamlet. A land deed signed in 1664 by Unkechaug Sachem Tobacus mentions a river called Yamphanke. In the 17th century, the Unkechaug Indians, who had their primary residence in nearby Mastic, built temporary campsites near what was later known as Weeks Pond.