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Aug 17, 2018 1:15 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Might Preserve Shinnecock Hills Property Where Skeletal Remains Were Found

Officials examine the scene on Monday.
Aug 21, 2018 3:46 PM

The Shinnecock Indian Nation Tribal Council met with Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund Manager Mary Wilson on Friday to discuss the possibility of the town purchasing the Hawthorne Road property in Shinnecock Hills where human skeletal remains were found at a construction site on Monday, August 13.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said Friday morning that while the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office cannot determine the ancestry of the remains, Mr. Schneiderman believes the bones to be of Shinnecock descent—and that the Town Board should take the appropriate steps in expediting the purchase and preservation of the property with CPF revenues.

“I don’t think this is a random death in the woods,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

It was unclear on Friday what the market value of the parcel is, which would determine the purchase price the town could pay. The appraisal process could take up to three weeks.

Mr. Schneiderman said the property owner—the owner is currently listed as KB Southampton LLC of Water Mill—was at the meeting and was willing to sell the land to the town. He did not further identify the property owner.

Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs said after the meeting that he was pleased with the direction the town was heading—and fast. “I am hopeful of good negotiations going forward,” he said.

Mr. Schneiderman said that the Town Board members voiced concerned about the purchase setting a precedent for buying land where human remains were found, without conducting a proper archaeological review for future sites. The last time remains were found was at a former hotel in Bridgehampton; the town bought the property for about $5 million.

“I am willing to bet that, in this case, it’s worth purchasing the property without any review,” he noted. “Shinnecock Hills is a highly sensitive area—this time it’s the right thing to do.”

There are no laws on the books in Southampton Town—or East Hampton Town, for that matter—on how the town should monitor archaeological discoveries of this kind. It is general practice that when human remains are found, police are called, and the county medical examiner assesses the finding. In this case, “ancestry cannot be determined based on the age of the remains,” a spokesperson for the medical examiner said Tuesday. It would be up to the town to conduct its own archaeological review.

“There needs to be protocol in place to deal with this,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “Not every developer will be as responsible as this one in reporting it to the police. But if we make the process too impossible, we’re going to encourage people to act like they didn’t see anything, and more discoveries are going to get covered up.”

Members of the Shinnecock Nation Tribal Council have been asking the town to adopt new laws to protect against the desecration of ancient burial sites for more than a decade, Mr. Gumbs said. He noted that before the CPF meeting, he has felt “largely ignored” on this issue.

“This is exactly what we have been talking about for years, but finally someone is listening,” he said.

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The NATION should buy the land... We don't receive taxes from the nation.
Now jay is a expert on bones and the like. Lance you're never happy...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 17, 18 2:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
If I was the landowner, I'd inflate the price.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Aug 17, 18 7:19 PM
I'm sure they will find a way.

Bones are buried everywhere, this sort of nonsense could go on ad infinitum. Just pick them up and move them to a designated sacred burial ground.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Aug 18, 18 3:26 AM
I wonder if people’s attitudes would be different if it was their relitives remains .
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 18, 18 6:21 AM
2 members liked this comment
There are many small burying grounds all over the place for a variety of people. Is CPF going to jump in and purchase them all?

I have no problem with preserving burial grounds. Quite the opposite. I am just curious how Jay believes he knows what kind of remains they are. Unless I missed the update the anthropologist hasn't stated whether or not they are Native American bones If they aren't, will CPF still buy the property? CPF held a meeting within a matter of days. If you've dealt ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 19, 18 8:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
B.B.- your curious as to why Jay believes he knows what kind of remains they are. Well had the reporter included the original story , their would be more clarification an less questions. Lance Gumbs, suggested they were remainif a Tribal leader bc they are buried with a flask. These remains were found buried with a flask .

Aug 16 Updated: Skeletal Remains Found at Contructuin Site.

Typical shoddy reporting imo The Press should print ALL of the facts in this headline.
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Aug 22, 18 7:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Shinnecocks should set aside a place in their cemetery for proper burial and for future discoveries. Work with the property owners and town to have a policy in place, so a discovery doesn’t turn into a land claim.
By harbor hound (31), southampton on Aug 18, 18 8:15 AM
CPF gone wild. Buying a motel and now a cemetery.
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Aug 18, 18 11:03 AM
2 members liked this comment
My tax dollars go to support Shinnecock Indians, who chase me and my boat from NY STATE waters with gunfire over Peconic Bay in front of their Westwoods property (not reservation) saying they own the water. They ignore laws regarding high water marks as property lines, saying they do not honor "white man's laws." State Police, Bay Constables and SH Trustees all say the Shinnecocks don't own the water, but to stay away....why make trouble? Thank you Mr. Gumbs - you are a great leader. NOT! Jay ...more
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Aug 18, 18 1:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Taz, why don’t you bring your grievance up before the Shinnecock trustees? I’m sure they’d let you speak. It’s almost like the Shinnecocks have some kind of vendetta. I just don’t know why that would be.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 18, 18 2:25 PM
I spoke with 2 of the Town Trustees who said they were working on it. That was over a week ago. Still waiting. The vendetta you mention is against any unsuspecting boater who attempts to anchor there when an Indian happens to be there. I am one of many who have experienced this recently.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Aug 18, 18 2:40 PM
We have had this happen to us as well while clamming. The gunfire is BS ! But at the same token , we have plenty of places to go clamming so I don’t see the big deal in leaving that area for the Tribe. Our waters are being depleted of clams , mussels an fish by those who don’t have legal rights to be pulling free food from the waters ( NS Beach, Fishcove bridge lined with poles an nobody checks them ) So I don’t blame them for protecting the bay around the Reservation. It’s ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Aug 22, 18 7:20 AM
Taz, I hope the trustees find some kind of solution. I’ve personally never had a problem on or near the reservation.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 18, 18 2:44 PM
Go to "news 12 long island video of Shinnecock Indians shooting rifles" and see for yourself. This was not me, It happened on June 19. The location is clearly the Westwoods property on Peconic Bay - not the reservation on Shinnecock Bay as news 12 incorrectly reported. The Westwoods property was given to the Indians long after the reservation was formed in Shinnecock Hills and is not part of the reservation as the courts ruled back when they had hoped to build the casino there. It is their ...more
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Aug 18, 18 3:05 PM
WOW just watched the video. Thnx for sharing Taz. Our experience was mild compared to the video footage .
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Aug 22, 18 7:26 AM
Taz , watched the vid, sounded like a shotgun. Probably was a wise move not to confront the guys on the beach.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 18, 18 3:35 PM
Schneiderman just won the triple crown and all u tax payers are convinced by this guy. Rep, Ind and now a Dem. and your gonna tell me this guy isn’t doing it for his political agenda. What a joke supervisor this guy has been. And u people voted him in. Between ATH and him what a laughable town this place has turned into. If u ask me this town is going completely backwards and can’t wait for my house to sell to get away from this corruption by Schneiderman. SCWA commissioner here he comes ...more
By watchoutnow968 (56), Southampton on Aug 19, 18 9:57 PM
Annoying indigenous people getting in the way of development. Since arriving in the "New World", European settlers have bent over backwards to accommodate indigenous tribes. Europeans graciously taught indigenous people about smallpox, real-estate law, long-distance hiking and alcohol. Tax money should only be spent on things true patriots care about. Our country should increase military spending and corporate subsidies and stop wasting on nonsense like public education and historical preservation. ...more
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Aug 19, 18 10:34 PM
Aeshtron, you forgot how the govt sent them to the best Indian schools, only the best.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 22, 18 7:13 AM
They say the bones are 50 years old. Why not bury them in the Indian Cemetery if they were so special. Why go so far off the Res. sounds like a coverup and now we have to pay to help keep it hidden?
By hamptonsnrcit (47), sag harbor on Aug 23, 18 12:55 PM