Shinnecock Tribe Formally Recognized by Federal Government

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Today the Bureau of Indian Affairs formally notified the members of the Shinnecock Indian tribe that they are now formally recognized by the federal government, which bestows certain rights and privileges upon the indigenous group. The tribe has sought this recognition for decades, but according to the AP the efforts increased in fervency after the Shinnecock attempted to begin building a casino on tribal lands in Southampton in 2003, and were informed that they were barred from doing so unless they received the designation. A casino, in addition to changing the nightlife and perhaps even the social makeup of the Hamptons, would immensely alter the prospects of the tribe itself. "This is the most historic moment in Shinnecock history," trustee Lance Gumbs told the AP. "Any discussion of a casino is a secondary thought." Of course! According to the AP, everybody's too busy dancing, singing, hugging, and crying to have a discussion.

Feds approve NY tribe recognition [AP]