The Shinnecock Indian Nation is one of the oldest self-governing tribes in the United States and is a big part of Long Island's history. Today, there are about 1,300 tribe members, about half of whom live in the Southampton area, where the tribe controls several hundred acres along the South Fork. Here are some milestones in the tribe's history:
Earliest Days: The Shinnecocks, who have lived for centuries in the Southampton area, become one of the most prominent of Northeastern coastal tribes.1640: First deed is executed between the Shinnecocks and the original European settlers of Southampton.1703: English settlers in Southampton agree on a deal with the tribe for a 1,000-year lease allowing the tribe to stay on some 3,600 acres - including land that later became Southampton College and Shinnecock Hills Country Club. Some of this land eventually became a part of the long-running dispute on the future of the Shinnecock lands. 1859: The State Legislature approves a petition allegedly signed by the Shinnecocks - which the tribe says was fraudulent - to break the terms of the 1,000-year lease, opening the door for railroad development across the Shinnecock lands. The controversial deal confines the Shinnecocks to an 800-acre reservation.1978: The Shinnecocks, already recognized as a tribe by New York State, apply for federal recognition.
2005: The Shinnecocks file a federal lawsuit for billions of dollars in reparations and the return of 3,600 acres the tribe contends were improperly taken. A federal judge rules that the Shinnecocks are a bona fide tribe.
May 2009: The Shinnecocks gain a settlement with the U.S. Department of the Interior, requiring the agency to decide on federal recognition status of the tribe by year's end. Gov. David A. Paterson later endorses federal recognition.
Dec. 15, 2009: The BIA proposes granting federal recognition to the Shinnecocks, the first step in a process that could result in formal recognition within six months. Compiled by Thomas Maier