The Legislation Unanimously Passed Both The Assembly and Senate.
Long Island, NY - July 19, 2017 - Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele and Senator Ken LaValle are urging the Governor to sign their legislation providing New York State recognition to the Montaukett Indian Nation. The measure received bipartisan support when both Houses of the Legislature approved it unanimously this past session.
In the letter to the Governor requesting the acknowledgment of the tribe, the Legislators noted that the Montaukett’s recognition had been wrongfully removed back in 1910. They stated, “The court’s misdeed declaring that the Montauketts no longer exist has been perpetuated for over a century, despite the fact that the members of this sovereign Indian nation continue to live in our community, maintain their culture, and govern themselves. This issue has continued to be relevant to us and our constituents who seek to rightfully restore their place in history. As you take this bill into consideration, we respectfully ask you to keep in mind that the Montaukett Indian Nation is alive and thriving. We wholeheartedly believe that they deserve to be acknowledged by the State.”
Such recognition and acknowledgment was wrongfully removed from the Montaukett Indians in the 1910 case of PHAROAH V. BENSON, 69 Misc. Rep. 241 (Supreme, Suffolk Co., 1910), affirmed 164 App. Div. 51, affirmed 222 N.Y. 665. In that case, the Montaukett Indians were declared to be extinct, in order to rule against them in a land claim.
In 1994, State Supreme Court Judge William Underwood, in the case of BREAKERS MOTEL, INC. V. SUNBEACH MONTAUK TWO, INC., subsequently described the PHAROAH case, “which declared this venerable and noble Algonquin nation to be extinct”, as being of "questionable propriety”.
The legislation would reverse this impropriety and restore acknowledgment and recognition by the State of New York to the Montaukett Indians. If signed by the Governor, the Montaukett Indians would be the 10th Indian nation to be recognized by the State of New York. New York State recognizes the Cayuga Nation, Oneida Nation of New York, Onondaga Nation, Poospatuck or Unkechauge Nation, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Seneca Nation of Indians, Shinnecock Indian Nation, Tonawanda Band of Seneca, and Tuscarora Nation.