Not that anyone has asked me, but I think that the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s billboards on Sunrise Highway are more than a way to make money for some and irritate others [“First Of Two Shinnecock Billboards Nears Completion,” 27east.com, May 23].
Not to say that we want billboards all over, but these two should add some depth to what can otherwise be a dreary or nerve-wracking drive. How? Because they may rectify the Long Island Welcome Center’s omission of anything pertaining to Long Island’s original inhabitants. Travelers may become more aware of the history of the “real estate” here, and so their experience of the South Fork will be enriched.
And, to those who think the billboards are too intrusive in the natural landscape, I would counter by reminding them of the visual and environmental effect of all the houses, businesses, cars and visitors on our area.
It will be up to the Tribal Trustees to supervise what gets put on the billboards so that the Shinnecock Nation’s values are communicated. My own hope is that the signs will not be used to promote racism, damage to the natural environment, sexual exploitation, drugs, guns or political ads. Surely, some of my favorite organizations will be able to raise the kind of money it takes to rent one of the billboards or be able to convince the Tribal Trustees to include pro bono announcements every so often.
For example: The Group for the East End could promote a fundraiser, the hospital could beg summer folk to respect traffic regulations, our local museums could promote their shows, public concerts could be announced, etc. I realize it will be tricky, because promoting the latest R-rated film might bring in more money, but I hope that the Tribal Trustees will not leave the decisions as to what will be advertised to some business based somewhere else.
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