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On July 24th, 2008, continuing on a tradition of four centuries of turbulent relations, whites and native Indians in Long Island have been quarrelling in and out of courts for the past few years over a proposed casino facility and a compensation claim for the land that the Shinnecock tribe claims that have been stolen from them. Now a compromise has lured leaders from both groups into talks on what can result into a first casino facility in Long Island.

Some legislators of Suffolk County have met with Shinnecock Tribal trustees about finding another location for a casino away from tribal lands in the Hamptons, where it has been proposed to be constructed and which officials adamantly opposed to be built. A lot of problems remain especially with looking for a suitable location. But if that can be resolved, Shinnecock leaders say that they want to also finish their own land lawsuit.

Frederick C. Bess, the chairman of the Shinnecock Indian Nation Trustees said that they are open to a settlement. The overtures have featured a pro-casino presentation by tribal members to a county legislative committee and tour of the reservation land by the legislature's presiding officer, William J. Lindsay and its economic development chairman, Wayne R. Horsley.

What inspired the new talks was development in the tribe's decade long fight to win federal recognition. The federal status, together with state approvals that the tribe is seeking, could allow the tribe to construct a casino facility in their land or buy a land elsewhere. Supporters of the casino say that it would produce thousands of jobs, tax revenue and an economic effect of billions of dollars. Opponents of the casino say that they doubt whether any community would allow any casino on their land.


08/20/2008 04:40 PM


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