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Jun 20, 2017 4:09 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

State Assembly Passes Bill To Make 'Extinct' Montauketts An Officially Recognized Tribe Again

Jun 23, 2017 7:36 AM


The State Senate unanimously approved a bill recognizing the Montaukett Indian Nation in its last vote before breaking for summer on Wednesday evening.

The State Assembly approved a parallel bill earlier this week.

The bill will now land on Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk for a signature that would grant the Native American tribe that inhabited Montauk before European settlers arrived official recognition by the state for the first time in more than a century.

Several hundred Montauketts still live on Long Island—mainly in Montauk and Sag Harbor as well and western Suffolk County. State recognition would give tribal members access to a variety of state aid, like education and health care grants.


The State Assembly unanimously approved a bill this week that would restore official recognition by the state of the Montaukett Indian Nation, more than a century after it was declared “extinct” by a court ruling in a fight with a developer over land rights.

The bill must still be considered by the State Senate and, if approved there, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo—who has proven a speed bump to attempts to restore recognition to the tribe in the past.

In 2013, both houses of the State Legislature approved bills that set up a process by which the hundreds of remaining Montauketts living on Long Island could apply to the state to restore their official recognition. But the governor vetoed the bills, saying the process was too onerous for state agencies. Instead, he ordered that the Department of State study the veracity of the Montauketts’ constitution and report back.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said that report has never materialized, and that he and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, growing impatient, simply decided to take the shorter route and introduce legislation flatly granting the Montauketts recognition.

“This measure would reverse a century-old wrong,” said Mr. Thiele. “The Montaukett Indian Nation is alive and thriving and deserves to be acknowledged by the state. I am proud the Assembly passed this bill, and I am hopeful that the Senate will act to ensure its passage before the end of the 2017 session. It is time to restore the Montauketts’ rights as a New York indigenous nation.”

The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.

State recognition would give the ancestral members of the Montaukett tribe access to state health care and education programs but would have no impact on federal aid programs or economic benefits, such as gaming.

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May the Senate vote to pass this very important bill !!!
By toes in the water (537), southampton on Jun 20, 17 5:27 PM
They were never extinct, they've been alive and well. Congrats
By adczeta (68), Southampton on Jun 21, 17 12:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Long overdue. All good wishes to the Montauketts.
By Turkey Bridge (1740), Quiogue on Jun 21, 17 8:25 PM
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