End The Sorrow - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1787157

End The Sorrow

I write with a full heart to passionately and zealously support the use of Community Preservation Fund revenues to purchase lands in the Sugar Loaf Hill area of Shinnecock Hills. This location is where the ancestors of our friends and neighbors in the Shinnecock Nation have been laid to rest. This burial land, like all burial grounds across cultures and societies, must be preserved and protected.

Most people view the burial sites of their family and friends as revered places. Remembering our loved ones at their final resting place has been a human tradition, desire and spiritual ritual for as long as we know, for thousands of years. We go back to these burial sites to express thanks for what we have, pray for the peace and respite of their souls, and ask for guidance for the future. The importance of preserving burial sites as a place to remember, show respect, meditate and pray cannot be disregarded.

It was unimaginable to learn that the burial grounds of our Shinnecock neighbors’ ancestors, the first occupants and custodians of this beautiful area we live in, have been disturbed and destroyed; it is a horrific thought to realize that such indifference has occurred and may continue to occur if actions are not immediately taken by the Southampton Town Board.

It would be shameful and demeaning to ignore the pain, heartbreak and sorrows that have already impacted our Shinnecock neighbors, due to lack of regulations and with delays in implementing corrective actions. It is within our ability to do the right thing, the only thing, and change this situation going forward.

The decisions and actions that will be made regarding the protection and preservation of these burial grounds reflect the moral compass of our community and its leadership during this period of time. We have the responsibility, ability and means to act in the only appropriate manner in this situation. There should be no more delays, and doing nothing is not an acceptable option.

I urge our board members, the elected officials in the Town of Southampton, to take notable actions and lead with authority and morality in this matter. Please support the wishes of our hearts, souls and intentions by protecting and preserving the burial areas of our Shinnecock neighbors.

Additionally, this land should rightfully be returned to and cared for by the Shinnecock Nation. The town should immediately enact legislation and utilize the CPF to purchase properties and easements in the Sugar Loaf Hill area, prohibiting development and preventing the desecration of this sacred site.

As a community, we just cannot let this type of devastation occur ever again.

Larissa Potapchuk