Paul Harris “Native American tribe reclaims slice of the Hamptons after court victory”

米国紐育南東のロング・アイランドに住むShinnecock民族(Shinnecock Nation)*1が32年間の法廷闘争の末、連邦政府から「部族」として認定され、ロング・アイランドに対する半主権を恢復した。

Almost four centuries since their first contact with the white man and after a 32-year court battle that has just ended in victory, the tiny Shinnecock tribe has now been formally recognised by America's federal government.

The decision means that the Shinnecock, numbering some 1,300 members, many of whom live in deep poverty compared with their wealthy neighbours, can apply for federal funding to build schools, health centres and set up their own police force. It means their tiny 750-acre reservation is now a semi-sovereign nation within the US, just like much bigger and more famous reservations in the west.

In order to qualify the Shinnecock literally had to prove that they existed, submitting thousands of pages of tribal records. It was a process that has left a bitter legacy. "Why do we need federal recognition to show we are who we are?" said Shinnecock leader Lance Gumbs as he sat in his office in the community centre. "It's a humiliating, degrading and insensitive process. Why do Indian people have to go through that? No other peoples are treated like that."

Historically – and indeed pretty much since Europeans first arrived in the area in the 1600s – the Shinnecock have been on the retreat. They lost land steadily as more and more Europeans began to farm their traditional territory, eventually leading to an agreement in 1703 that saw them confined to a broad swath of land around Southampton under a 1,000-year lease. However, in 1859 the pressure of development saw that deal scrapped by the settlers and the Shinnecock reduced to their current tiny holding. For years tribal members then eked out a living working on white farms or helping local fishermen and whalers.
See also

DANNY HAKIM “U.S. Recognizes an Indian Tribe on Long Island, Clearing the Way for a Casino”