The Montaukett Indians lost their acknowledgement and recognition by the State of New York in 1910.
Long Island, NY - July 3, 2018 - Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele today announced that their legislation to provide the Montaukett Indians with State recognition has been approved by both Houses of the Legislature. The Montaukett Indians have been seeking to restore their acknowledgement and recognition by the State of New York since it was unfairly removed by a 1910 state court decision. In the State Assembly, the vote was 137-1. The State Senate approved the measure 61-0
The Montaukett Indians lost their acknowledgement and recognition by the State of New York in 1910 in the case of Pharaoh v. Bensen when the tribe was declared to be extinct. In 1994, the State Supreme Court, in the case of Breakers motel, Inc. v. Sunbeach Montauk Two, Inc., subsequently described the Pharaoh case as being of "questionable propriety". The act passed this week will restore the Nation’s long sought-after State recognition and acknowledgement.
In 2017, the Governor vetoed similar legislation. However, since the veto, the Montauketts have met with the Governor’s counsel to provide additional information relating to state recognition.
Senator Ken LaValle said, “Prior to 1910, the Montaukett Indians were recognized by New York State as a tribe. The designation was improperly removed from them in 1910, and it’s time the Montaukett Tribe receives the appropriate recognition. I am pleased that we were able to obtain the approval of the measure from both the Senate and the Assembly.”
Assemblyman Fred Thiele said, “I’m delighted that the Senate came through in the eleventh hour to vote in favor of this important measure, following the Assembly’s approval. I thank Senator LaValle for his significant efforts to move this legislation forward. The Montaukett Indian Nation is alive and thriving, and I’m proud the State is finally correcting a grave injustice.”
The legislation will be sent to the Governor for consideration. If signed into Law, it would take effect immediately.