The Southampton Town Board unanimously approved on June 8 a measure that will ensure the Schinnecock Indian Nation’s ancestral burial grounds will be spared from development.
Members of the Shinnecock Nation have been trying to protect for years the land known as Sugar Loaf Hill located on Montauk Highway in Southampton. The private property will be purchased by the Peconic Land Trust, which will demolish the home on the hill and return it to its natural state.
“I think it is a significant step forward in terms of recognizing some of the harm that has been done, but also in terms of taking a small step toward cleansing a historic wound that is quite deep,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said.
Shinnecock Nation Chairman Bryan Polite cheered the decision along with fellow tribe members and supporters, including Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters.
“I cannot express enough how appreciative the Shinnecock Nation is for this town board to put away some of the past friction between the Shinnecock Nation and our neighbors,” Polite said.
Peconic Land Trust’s founder John v.H. Halsey said the nonprofit will work with the tribe on how to preserve the land.
“It is our intent to manage this land with the Shinnecock people, the ultimate stewards, as a place for their ancestors to rest in peace, as well as a place for the public to enjoy its beauty and to learn about the history and culture of the Shinnecock Nation,” Halsey said.