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Define Red? | by eyewashdesign: A. Golden
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Define Red?

Annawon Weeden: a Mashpee Wampanoag, with ancestry from the Narragansett; Pequot & other eastern woodland nations. FMI: www.myspace.com/annawon

 

Shinnecock Reservation, Hamptons, NY - Labour Day Powwow: 2007.

 

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Shinnecock Tribe

Rte 27-A, Montauk Hwy

Southhampton, NY 111968

631-283-6143

State recognized; (no BIA office liason - seriously ridiculous!)

 

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Shinnecock Indian Nation: An Ancient History and Culture.

 

Since the beginning, Shinnecock time has been measured in moons and seasons, and the daily lives of our people revolved around the land and the waters surrounding it. Our earliest history was oral, passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation, and as far back as our collective memory can reach, we are an Algonquin people who have forever lived along the shores of Eastern Long Island.

 

Scientists say we came here on caribou hunts when the land was covered with ice. But our creation story says we were born here; that we are the human children of the goddess who descended from the sky. It was she, the story goes, who caused the land to form beneath her feet from the back of Great Turtle, deer to spring forth from her fingertips; bear to roar into awakening, wolf to prowl on the first hunt. It was she who filled the sky with birds, made the land to blossom and the ponds and bays to fill with fish and mollusks. And when all was done, the Shinnecock, the People of the Shore, appeared in this lush terrain. We are still here.

 

As coastal dwellers, we continue to prize the bounty of the sea, the shellfish, the scaly fish, which for thousands of years provided the bulk of our diet. We were whalers, challenging the mighty Atlantic from our dugout canoes long before the arrival of the big ships, long before the whaling industry flourished in the 19th century.

 

In the 1700's, we became noted among the northeastern coastal tribes for our fine beads made from the Northern quahog clam and whelk shells. The Dutch, who arrived on our shores before the English, turned our beads (wampum) into the money system for the colonies.

 

The Shinnecock Nation is among the oldest self-governing tribes of Indians in the United States and has been a state-recognized tribe for over 200 years. In 1978, we applied for Federal Recognition, and in 2003, we were placed on the Bureau of Indian Affairs' "Ready for Active" list.

 

Traditionally, decisions concerning the welfare of the tribe were made by consensus of adult male members. Seeking to shortcut the consensus process in order to more easily facilitate the acquisition of Indian lands, the Town of Southampton devised a three member trustee system for the Shinnecock people. This system of tribal government was approved by the New York State legislature in February of 1792. Since April 3, 1792, Shinnecock Indians have gone to the Southampton Town Hall the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April to elect three tribal members to serve a one- year term as Trustees. In April of 2007, the Shinnecock Indian Nation exercised its sovereign right as an ancient Indian Nation and returned to one of its basic Traditions: it bypassed the Southampton Town Hall and for the first time since 1792 held its leadership elections at home, where they will remain.

 

The Trustee system, however, did not then and does not now circumvent the consensus process, which still remains the governing process of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Major decisions concerning the tribe are voted yea or nay by all eligible adult members, including women, who gained the right to vote in the mid-1990s. Also in that period, the Shinnecock Nation installed a Tribal Council, a 13 member body elected for two years terms. The Council is an advisory body to the Board of Trustees.

 

Today, we number over 1300 people, more than 600 of whom reside on the reservation adjacent to the Town of Southampton on the East End of Long Island. While our ancestral lands have dwindled over the centuries from a territory stretching at least from what is known today as the Town of Easthampton and westward to the eastern border of the Town of Brookhaven, we still hold on to approximately 1200 acres.

 

With modest resources, we have managed to build a community to help us better meet the demands of an ever expanding and intrusive world. In addition to the Shinnecock Presbyterian church building and its Manse, our infrastructure includes a tribal community center, a shellfish hatchery, a health and dental center, a family preservation and Indian education center, a museum, and playgrounds for our children. Also on our list of recent achievements is the design and development of an official Shinnecock Indian Nation flag and an official seal.

 

Our skilled craftspeople and fine artists find employment within the Tribe as well as the surrounding area. The number of tribal members holding advanced degrees in law, business, medicine, social sciences and liberal arts continues to grow, and tribal members hold positions of responsibility in all areas, including teaching, banking and counseling, both within and outside the Shinnecock community.

 

One of the earliest forms of economic development that the Shinnecock Nation undertook was to lease Reservation acreage to local area farmers for their crops, mainly potatoes and corn. While the project did bring in a small income for the Tribe, the resulting damages from pesticides leaking into the ground water and polluting our drinking water supply were enormous. We had great expectations for our shellfish hatchery (Oyster Project) but brown tide and general pollution forced it to close before it had the chance to develop into the business enterprise it was planned to be. In the summer of 2005, the Tribe began reseeding parts of its waterways with oysters, and celebrated a renewal harvest of Shinnecock chunkoo oysters at the Tribal Thanksgiving Dinner, November 2006.

 

At the present moment, the Shinnecock annual Powwow is the economic development project of record for the Shinnecock Nation. Revived in 1946 as a benefit for our church, the Powwow has evolved into an event that hosts thousands of visitors. But we are at the mercy of the weather. For the past two years, rainstorms have forced us to drastically revise our budgeting plans. We are now exploring Indian Gaming as a means of attaining the much needed self-sufficiency that will enable us to perform the sacred duties laid out for us by the Ancestors — to protect, manage and maintain the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

 

By Bevy Deer Jensen

Shinnecock Nation Communications Officer

 

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For more information on the Shinnecock Nation, please visit: www.shinnecocknation.com/

 

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photography: a. golden, eyewash design, c. 2007.

 

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UPDATE: April 14, 2009 ---> See Annawon's portrayal of Metacom (King Philip) in PBS's "After the Mayflower" episode of "We Shall Remain" here: www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/the_films/episode_1_a...

 

---> BIO HERE: www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/behind_the_scenes/epi...

 

---> Behind the Scenes Images HERE: www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/behind_the_scenes/pho...

 

---> Heard on Set Interview HERE: www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/behind_the_scenes/hea...

 

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Taken on August 4, 2007