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Shinnecock elect 7 trustees

Members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation have elected seven members, including one first-time leader, to its council of trustees as the Southampton tribe works on housing, beach restoration and new day care center projects.

Bryan Polite on Tuesday got the most votes -- 151 -- earning the chairman's position. Also re-elected were Daniel Collins Sr., with 142 votes, and Nichol Dennis-Banks, with 134. New to the council is Terrel Terry, who got 129 votes. The Rev. Michael Smith, who previously had served as a trustee, also was elected to the council with 118 votes, according to the tribe. Terry and Smith replace Brad Smith and Taobi Silva, who did not run for re-election.

Lucille Bosley and Eugene Cuffee, who ran unopposed, were named sunksqua and sachem -- elder council members with trustee voting power and ceremonial roles.

Dennis-Banks, who was elected in 2013, was the first woman to be elected to the tribe's trustee council, while Bosley was the first elected sunksqua, also in 2013.

The seven-member council of trustees replaced the former three-member board of three board trustees with the advent of the new tribal constitution in 2013.

Tribal members also approved a measure that will phase in a new system of staggered trustee terms, with three seats becoming vacant in one year and four the following year. Trustees will serve two-year terms.

The tribe is working to open a newly constructed child day care center, and services will be offered first to the youngest tribal members.

The tribe also plans to begin beach-erosion repairs with federal funds following damage from superstorm Sandy, and to work on housing projects with a recently secured federal grant of $220,849.


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