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LI officials react to Shinnecocks near-recognition by feds

Dancers perform during the Shinnecock Indian Powwow at

Dancers perform during the Shinnecock Indian Powwow at the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton on Aug. 30, 2008. Photo Credit: Newsday File / Ana P. Gutierrez

U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton): "This first step toward federal recognition is welcome news for a long-overdue acknowledgment of the Shinnecocks' status as a Native American people. . . . Today's announcement by the Interior Department should be celebrated not only by the Shinnecock Indian Nation, but also by its neighbors in Suffolk County and residents of New York as a whole."

 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy's spokesman, on the determination: "That is a federal decision and we will leave it at that."

Levy himself: "The decision certainly gives additional weight to the work of the task force that has been charged with examining potential casino locations in the county."

 

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: "This long-awaited news brings the people of the Shinnecock Indian Nation one step closer to having access to vital federal housing and educational programs that will collectively improve the quality of life for the Shinnecock community."

 

State Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson): "I congratulate them. . . . I hope that they use their new status intelligently and are sensitive to the greater community around them. . . . I have always been a staunch opponent of casino gambling, I think it can be disruptive to families, and be very disruptive to communities - and I also recognize that gambling has become a fact of life within the United States. There are locations that benefit, I guess."

 

State Assemb. Fred Thiele (R-Sag Harbor): "I applaud the decision and congratulate the members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation on this long-sought designation. The State of New York has recognized the Shinnecocks since 1792. . . . I believe there is general agreement now that the establishment of casino gaming should be located off the reservation at a location that is both economically as well as environmentally suitable, and where the surrounding community is supportive."

 

State Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington):"This is great news for the Shinnecocks and for Long Island. Conversations need to begin immediately about how the nation and the state can work together for the mutual benefit of our residents. The first topic I want to discuss is how Belmont fits into this."

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