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Sebonac Creek Settlement

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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.



Rev. Azariah Horton’s visit to Sebonac settlement to preach to Shinnecock Indians.1

  1. David Martine, Shinnecock Timeline pp. 7


A splayed bird image was found on pottery fragment excavated at the Sebonac site, which has been identified as a thunder-being symbol. 1

This motif is seen as part of the Shinnecock religion. The Thunderbird is a race of mythic beings who were thought to be the patrons of warriors, the bringers of rain for the crops, and the guardians of mankind against water monsters.

Unfortunately, there has been no corroborative data from other Sebonac sites. It seems quite likely, however, that the Thunderbird was known and honored on Long Island because the symbol has been documented among the other coastal Algonkin tribes. 2

  1. Strong, John A. The Algonquian Peoples of Long Island: From Earliest times to 1700. Interlaken NY: Empire State, 1997. Print.  pp 53
  2. Stone, Gaynell. The Shinnecock Indians: A Culture History. Stony Brook, NY: Suffolk County Archaeological Association, 1983. Print. pp 23
Thunderbird on pottery sherd found at Sebonac, a symbol of the spirit of the upper-world. Image from Gaynell Stone's Indian Place Names Map, 1991