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May 17, 2016 4:35 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Tribal Member Given More Time To Fight For Beach Parking Rights In Village

Dyani Brown heads into court on Tuesday afternoon.  DANA SHAW
May 18, 2016 10:40 AM

Appearing in court with more than a dozen other members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Tuesday, Dyani Brown was granted a two-month adjournment for a parking ticket, giving her time to take her fight to allow tribe members to be considered village residents, and thus eligible for beach parking permits, directly to the Southampton Village Board.

Southampton Village Justice Barbara Wilson told Ms. Brown to go to the board to ask for an exemption to allow those who live on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation permission to park at the beach.

Ms. Brown is disputing a parking ticket she received at Coopers Beach in the village on August 9, 2014. She has argued that, as a member of the Nation who lives on the reservation just outside the village boundaries, she should be allowed to park at village beaches for free, as village residents can.

“We have never been restricted by this before,” Ms. Brown told Justice Wilson, who heard the case on Tuesday. According to Ms. Brown, other members of the tribe have received parking tickets at Coopers Beach, but some of those tickets were later dismissed when the tribe members showed their tribal IDs.

Justice Wilson asked if there was an exemption in the village law that allows members of the tribe to park without a village permit, saying that it was her understanding that non-residents would need a permit to park. She also explained to Ms. Brown that it was not up to the court to create or modify the law, that it was up to the Village Board.

Justice Wilson suggested that now would be a good time to bring up changes, given that the Village Board is considering other beach access issues, like limiting the number of vehicles on the beach at the Picnic Area.

Ms. Brown’s case was adjourned until July 26. At the end of the hearing, she said she was happy with the outcome and that she was glad attention had been brought to the issue. She said she plans to continue to fight for access to the beaches, both at the village and town levels, she said.

Ms. Brown has petitioned members of the Village Board and the Town Board, requesting that anyone with a federally issued Shinnecock tribal ID card be allowed to park at any beach in the town or village for free. Since sending the letter to officials on September 8, 2014, Ms. Brown said, she has received little to no response.

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said previously that he was aware of the letter, as well as an email Ms. Brown sent him, but that those who live on the reservation are not considered residents of the village, and officials have not considered changing that status.

Non-resident rates are $40 per day, or $225 per season, to use beach parking lots in the village.

On the day she was ticketed in August 2014, Ms. Brown said, she attempted to find a parking space at Road D, where a village permit is not required and parking is free, but found all the spaces occupied. She then drove to Coopers Beach and showed her federal identification card at the gate, but was told to pay $40 or park at her own risk. She chose the latter, displaying her ID in her car window above her registration.

When she returned to her car three hours later, she found a ticket that noted that she had “ignored attendant’s request not to park.”

After not paying the ticket for nearly two years, Ms. Brown went to court owing almost $600. The case had been adjourned a number of times because Ms. Brown has been attending American University in Washington, D.C. She graduated earlier this month with a bachelor’s degree in public communications and marketing.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on May 17, 16 4:43 PM
We are entitled to equal protection under the law. PERIOD. No one gets special treatment in this society.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 17, 16 7:21 PM
Priceless!

A lecture in Constitutional Law from . . .

Priceless!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 17, 16 7:39 PM
You live in a special world, don't you Chief?
The first sentence is right. The third is pure idealism.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on May 17, 16 7:42 PM
What happens if they change the law after the fact. She was guilty at the time was she not?
By 11953guest (48), southampton on May 17, 16 11:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Enough with this tribal rights. You have your waterfront land so use your beach. If you want to come off your land then you should abide by the laws we abide by. What's next, you shouldn't have to be licensed and insured driving around town if your a tribal member. Your id is not a free pass to society.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on May 18, 16 8:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hello everyone,

They say to never read the comments, but I often find the ignorance most amusing. "If you want to come off your land," has to be my favorite comment here (LOL)!

To clarify, Southampton settled Shinnecock territory, not the other way around. So it is all OUR land, which we so kindly welcomed, shared, and taught your forefathers to survive off of, albeit to our own dismay as we have been exploited ever since. However, “[WHEN we] want to come off…”—from ...more
By AniiBrown (3), on May 19, 16 1:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hello everyone,

They say to never read the comments, but I often find the ignorance most amusing. "If you want to come off your land," has to be my favorite comment here (LOL)!

To clarify, Southampton settled Shinnecock territory, not the other way around. So it is all OUR land, which we so kindly welcomed, shared, and taught your forefathers to survive off of, albeit to our own dismay as we have been exploited ever since. However, “[WHEN we] want to come off…”—from ...more
By AniiBrown (3), on May 19, 16 2:02 PM
I had no idea about this issue till I saw the messages the members of the Tribe were carrying during the parade...I think it's absurd that the members of the Shinnecock nation should have to pay for parking permits at village beaches. The word 'birthright' should absolutely apply in this case.
By InnerBay (72), Southampton on Jul 5, 16 1:46 PM