Town To Purchase Shinnecock Burial Grounds; Considers Moratorium

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SOUTHAMPTON, NY — It was a victory for the Shinnecock Indian Nation Tuesday as strides were taken to protect the tribe’s ancestral burial grounds.

The Southampton town board voted in favor of purchasing 3.3 acres of land in the sensitive Shinnecock Hills area; in recent months, members of the tribe and other residents have been demonstrating to protect what are believed to be ancient burial grounds from development.

The $2.2 million purchase, to be facilitated with use of Community Preservation Funds, will preserve three building lots around the home under construction that was at the center of the controversy, located on Montauk Highway and Ridge Road, in the Sugar Loaf area, the town said.

“The town attorney approached the owner of the surrounding property and we were able to reach an agreement to acquire those three lots and preserve this culturally sensitive land,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

Schneiderman also recognized the Shinnecocks’ desire to preserve more properties in the area where ancestral graves are located; for years, members of the Shinnecock tribe have fought to preserve those parcels.