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Cuomo vetoes Montaukett Indian bill for 3rd time

The governor says an oft-delayed state process to review a tribe's application for recognition is finally underway.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seen Nov. 28 in Manhattan,

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seen Nov. 28 in Manhattan, veteoed similar Montaukett bills in 2013 and 2017. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

ALBANY — For the third time, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have given state recognition to the Montaukett Indian nation.

As in 2017, Cuomo said the tribe must go through a New York Department of State process — which had been long delayed — to qualify for recognition, rather than obtain it directly through legislation. Therefore, the legislation sponsored by Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) and Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) was “premature,” the governor said.

The Cuomo administration has been promising since 2013 that it would set up a means for tribes to earn state recognition, but it wasn’t completed until this year.

The Department of State now is “still in the process of receiving and reviewing the relevant documents” regarding the Montauketts, the Democrat said in his veto message, adding: “We should allow the administrative process to take its due course.”

Cuomo vetoed similar Montaukett bills in 2013 and 2017.

The Montauketts lived on what is now Suffolk County parkland in Montauk until 1878. A chief aim of the state-recognition bill is to undo a 1910 state court decision that effectively declared the tribe as extinct.

Thiele said Monday he was "disappointed" by the third veto, but said the Montauketts' application currently is being reviewed by the Department of State.

"I'm committed to working through that process with the Montauketts to a successful conclusion in 2019," Thiele said.

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