Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Town of Southampton, New York and the Shinnecock Indian Tribe, are working to draft legislation that would protect Native American and colonial graves.

According to sources, the Southampton Town Board met with George Stankevich, (an attorney who represents the Shinnecock Tribe), historians and others, to help deliberate on the legislation.

Councilwoman Nancy Graboski called the legislation, "a work in progress. This is a living document."

The Shinnecocks are allegedly upset about a Native American "mass grave" that was desecrated on Shelter Island several years ago.

Recently, a human skull was found at the site of the former St. James Hotel. The skull was thought to have been from a Native American.

Dan Adams,Southampton Town Attorney stated that potential problems (possible litigation) exist in the future because of the delicate balance of property rights and grave protection.

Linda Kabot, Southampton Town Supervisor discussed possible problems, for example if a homeowner wanted to put in a pool and a grave was discovered. Building approvals, etc. could be revoked because of the discovery, leading to litigation.

One idea, is that when a homeowner goes to purchase property in the town he would be appraised of the legislation about graves and therefore no litigation would occur.

Rebecca Genia, a Shinnecock grave protection committee member said, "Policy is not enough. This law is necessary."

George Stankevick said, "No one has property rights on someone's grave. You don't desecrate a grave with a pool. No one has the right to toss out a body to put in a garage."

All Native Americans should support the Shinnecock Tribe in this Quest. What do you think?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends on the context of the term grave and or cemetary. Sites are excavated regularly for study but it would be very difficult to consider a swimming pool or a garage a valid purpose for known and recognized burial grounds. Especially since these remains are probably only in the ground less than 400 years based on the condition of the materials found. I am sure that many of the european settlers can point to ancestors that are in marked graves even older than this. How about we build a parking lot on a couple of these colonial graveyards? We could use the parking for the casino and run shuttle buses from them.