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Aug 10, 2010 10:33 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Community Notes, August 5, In Memoriam

Editor's Note: For Baby Roy's funeral announcement, click here. For Betty Cromwell's obituary, click here.
Aug 10, 2010 10:33 AM

It takes a village to raise a child. Somewhere along the line Shinnecock people turned away from that concept and individuals took on the weight of the world alone. We have
become so wrapped up in our individual lives, self-reliant, yet also self-centered and too proud to ask for help. This is not the people our ancestors were. We are not the seventh generation that they intended us to be.

So they sent us Baby Roy, an angel to deliver a very important message: Wake up!

The morning of Sunday, August 1, was sad enough with news of the loss of Elder Betty Cromwell, but our hearts turned from bittersweet sadness to grief-stricken despair when that evening we learned of the tragic death of 16-month-old Roy Antonio Jones III, a victim of abuse.

Murder on our own land—Shinnecock’s current generations cannot recall in their lifetime ever experiencing such a tragedy on these blessed grounds, which goes to show just how out of hand things have become.

This is not the failure of just one person, or one family, but of all of us who allowed our sacred circle to be infiltrated. All of us sat idle and watched the enemy trample over the soul of our own sister. We all turned our heads, relinquished our authority, and allowed the devil to take the 
life of our youngest.

“If you see something, say something” is the slogan for homeland security, but it also speaks to domestic violence and child abuse. We cannot be afraid to speak up, even if it 
could mean losing a friendship. Shinnecock is our home, we live in this land together and the people in this Nation are family. It is our duty to protect 
one another from the perils 
of those who wish to do any 
of us harm.

No federal status, no casino, no money, will save us if we do not have in our hearts the compassion to put aside our petty differences and family feuds and honor the bond we have as Shinnecock people. We must live as examples for our youth and raise them up to fulfill their destinies as strong mothers, fathers and warriors. We must put the unity back in our community and 
rekindle how our people once lived as one.

That was Baby Roy’s message as interpreted by tribal and
spiritual leaders of our Nation at a candlelight vigil to honor his life on Monday evening at the flagpole—a gathering that we 
must never forget.

We also gave thanks for the life of Miss Bet, a devout pillar of our Shinnecock community, and
according to friends, a true prayer warrior.

Many believe that nothing in this life is by chance, but that everything we face has already been foretold by the Creator himself. A wise woman said on Monday that Miss Bet had to leave ahead of Baby Roy to be able to receive him and escort him home to the Spirit World. This means that Baby Roy, though not long with us, has in the eyes of the Creator fulfilled his destiny. Now it is 
by his legacy that we must begin to fulfill ours.

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Touchingly beautiful. I'm writing the petition for the Shinnecock daycare center now!
By Takeynea (9), Southampton on Aug 3, 10 7:44 PM
Be strong Shinnecock Nation, be strong! Take heed to this very powerful and profound message. Take the loss of these good people and turn it into something positive. Do it for them. Live and believe as one people, one Nation. Embrace each other and love one another. My spirit and love are always with you.
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Aug 3, 10 10:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
Historical trauma is a vicious reality within Indian Country. It started with European conquest and resulted in introduction of alcohol and substances, the disintegration of the sacred Tribal circle, the imposition of European names, the destruction of language and culture. And, today, we see the fruits of that tree in domestic violence, abuse, continued use of substances and now death. Until we, as a people, learn and understand the lessons of historical trauma, we will continue to be caught ...more
By RIVERASIERRA (1), Brooklyn on Aug 4, 10 11:44 AM
2 members liked this comment