A Place Where Flags Grow
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.
In This Place, Wampum Was Made
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.
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.
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.