Recognize Their WorthWe need to make a deep acknowledgment of not only the incalculable worth of the Shinnecock Indian Nation to us here on Eastern Long Island, and to the country, and to the planet, but also of the irredeemable harm that has been done to them.
This culture that honors its past and the present, that honors the earth and the sea and the sky, where you see all the generations working together. They have been protectors of the environment forever. The way of life that preserves tribal values and ceremonies and spiritual connection is an invaluable example for all of us. And it’s right here!
Let’s cough up for that worth.
The Shinnecock were the original owners of this land. All the billions of dollars of wealth here on Eastern Long Island is based on land taken from them and on perpetuating laws that disenfranchised them.
The Community Preservation Fund is one of the most brilliant actions government has taken out here. Two percent of every real estate sale over $150,000 in Riverhead and Southold and $250,000 in Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island townships is kept for preservation of ecologically important spots.
I propose we start a new, additional fund, another micro-percentage of real estate sales, to create a Community Reservation Fund—money to be paid directly to this independent nation we are lucky enough to have in our midst. A small, fair percentage from every real estate sale over $500,000.
Here is something we can do about the enormous inequality of income that surrounds us. This is a minuscule amount for those who purchase homes of opulence and luxury.
Delays are intolerable in this situation. Children are being born and growing and need the resources now.
Our laws have time and again cheated the Shinnecock, because they were and are a single case, and there is no law to really deal respectfully and honorably with these people whom our culture has misled and mistreated from its position of power. But they have a power they have carried for generations.
Let’s be creative here on the East End. Let’s make it work, legally. And pay the Shinnecock Nation in real dollars for all they have made possible for us.
Tina CurranHampton Bays
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