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Oct 5, 2008 6:46 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Judge rules that issue of federal recognition for Shinnecocks should be reviewed

Oct 5, 2008 6:46 PM

The Shinnecock Nation’s pursuit of federal recognition inched closer to a decision last week as a federal judge ruled that the tribe’s claim that the Department of the Interior has “unreasonably delayed” its decision on the matter should be investigated.

Eastern District Judge Joseph F. Bianco set a conference date for this Tuesday for attorneys with the Tribe and the federal government to discuss how the Tribe’s claims should be investigated in court.

Attorneys for the Shinnecock Nation could not be immediately reached. Beverly Jenson, a spokeswoman for the Shinnecock Natiion, said on Sunday evening that the Tribe did not have any comment because they had not yet seen the decision.

In late 2005, Judge Thomas C. Platt handed the tribe a victory in its fight for federal recognition. The judge himself granted the Shinnecocks federal recognition, but the federal Department of the Interior declined to add the tribe to the list of federally recognized tribes, which would have allowed it to pursue casino development on a property the tribe owns in Hampton Bays, known as Westwoods.

The tribe was one of the first to apply for federal recognition in 1978, but its application was not completed until 2003. The tribe had been told that processing the application through normal channels would likely take between 12 and 15 years.

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