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In 1891, one hundred and fifty Shinnecock tribal members assisted Willie Dunn, Scottish professional, lay out the first 12 holes of what was to become the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

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.

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St. Matthew Chapel

St. Matthew Chapel

Freetown Chapel

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

  1. Allison Manfra McGovern, Termination and Survivance Among the Montauketts, pp. 226
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Listing Results

  • Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

    Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

    Contemporary, Post-Contact

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  • St. Matthew Chapel

    St. Matthew Chapel

    Contemporary, Post-Contact

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  • Elliot A Brook’s Carvings

    Elliot A Brook’s Carvings

    Contemporary

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  • Shinnecock Presbyterian Church

    Shinnecock Presbyterian Church

    Contemporary, Post-Contact

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  • Cove Realty Site

    Cove Realty Site

    Contemporary

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  • Eastville

    Eastville

    Contemporary, Post-Contact

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  • West Woods Sweat Lodge

    West Woods Sweat Lodge

    Contemporary

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  • West Woods

    West Woods

    Contemporary, Post-Contact

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  • Shinnecock Indian Reservation

    Shinnecock Indian Reservation

    Contemporary, Post-Contact

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  • Rev. Paul Cuffee Gravesite

    Rev. Paul Cuffee Gravesite

    Contemporary

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  • Springy Banks Pow Wow Grounds

    Springy Banks Pow Wow Grounds

    Contemporary, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Post-Contact

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  • Unkechaug Indian Reservation

    Unkechaug Indian Reservation

    Archaic, Contemporary, Early Woodland, Late Woodland, Orient (Transitional), Post-Contact

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