SOVEREIGNTY CAMP 2020

CALL TO ACTION: SOVEREIGNTY CAMP 2020

The Warriors of the Sunrise, which was formed in response to the Shinnecock Nation’s struggle to provide resources to its Tribal members due to hundreds of years of violent settler colonization and land theft, are in need of supplies and camp allies for a month-long occupation of our aboriginal territory at Canoe Place. We are sick of New York State standing in the way of our economic development. We need to feed our people!

Sovereignty Camp 2020 will officially begin at sunrise on Nov. 1

Coordinates: 40°53’20.8″N 72°30’36.1″W

You can support the cause by donating to our GoFundMe, PayPal, or to @warriorsofthesunrise via Venmo. Our goal is to raise $25K. Donations will go to supplies for the camp, including larger items like a generator, recreational vehicles (RVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The ATVs are necessary for our elders to travel the camp, and our intention for the RV is to use it on an ongoing basis to support other Indigenous land struggles across Turtle Island, especially since the launch of the #LandBack campaign by the NDN Collective. 

Email questions to warriorsofthesunrise@gmail.com and follow @warriorsofthesunrise on Instagram.

Share this document and use these images to spread the word on social media!

SOVEREIGNTY CAMP PROTOCOLS

In keeping with the Shinnecocks’ 400-year policy of being good neighbors, camp participants’ safety is of primary importance. We will be following the accepted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

We are asking all who come to take part in Sovereignty Camp 2020 to bring their own personal protective equipment (PPE) and evidence of testing negative prior to arrival at camp. We will be taking temperatures and providing hand-washing and hand sanitizer stations.

There will be a central camp kitchen where food and beverages will be available to all camp participants every day! People are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks if they have any dietary restrictions or concerns over shared cooking facilities. All are asked to bring paper goods, plates, cups, bowls, napkins and plasticware. All donations to the kitchen must be new in the package.

Coffee, tea and bottled water also will be available. Receptacles for trash and recycling will be placed around the camp grounds.

Everyone attending is asked to at all times be respectful of camp rules, camp personnel and each other. 

BACKGROUND

The Shinnecock people have always been hospitable to the colonizers and as a result have faced genocide, land theft, loss of language, poisoned water, and an attack on the inherent right to free trade. Today, the Shinnecock Nation consists of approximately 1200 members who live across the world. Members of the Shinnecock Nation come in every color and have long faced discrimination due to having shared Black ancestory. That discrimination led to an illegal and racist policy decision in the 1930s by the United States Goverment not to hold an Indian Reorganization Act election at Shinnecock. “Harper thinks we should not call the election because they are more negroid than Indian. Meiklejohn thinks we are legally bound to do so, in which opinion I am told Cohen concurs” (Fred H. Daiker). 

Since the United States failed to hold an election, under the 2009 United States Supreme Court case Carcieri v. Salazar, the Shinnecock Nation is not eligible to obtain trust land because it was not brought in under the IRA — for the above reasons of racist policy rather than law. Because Shinnecock can not obtain trust land, it can not meaningfully engage in economic development. The land that the Shinnecock Nation does hold is known as West Woods and the Shinnecock Neck. Separating the two territories is the Shinnecock Hills, which was stolen by the State of New York and the Town of Southampton from the Shinnecock in 1859. 

In 1959, the State of New York granted itself a permanent easement over a portion of the land at West Woods for the purposes of constructing Sunrise Highway. This easement was an illegal taking in violation of the Non-Intercourse Act absent any expressed permission of the United States Congress. In 2019, the Shinnecock Nation announced plans to build two 61 foot monuments to the Shinnecock Nation in the highway easement area on land known to be Indian Land. In response, Jay Schneiderman, supervisor of the Town of Southampton, engaged in protests along with a handful of residents of the local senior center. The Town of Southampton issued a stop work order to the Shinnecock Nation, which the Shinnecock Nation disregarded. Next, the New York State Police began to harass the Shinnecock Nation’s work crew and told the workers that they faced deportation if they continued to assist the Shinnecock in building their monument. 

At that time, the Warriors of the Sunrise formed in order to create a protective circle around the Shinnecock workers to protect them from harassment and deportation. The Warriors of the Sunrise were successful in the efforts to construct the first of the two monument signs. Upon completion of the first sign, the State of New York sought a temporary restraining order against the Shinnecock Nation. The State requested that the judge order the monument to be removed. The Judge denied the request and made it clear that Shinnecock has a right to conduct economic development on its land. The Judge also called a vacated 2007 case that New York State relies on to restrict Shinnecock’s attempts at economic development questionable. New York maintains that Shinnecock Nation does not own its land at West Woods, an assertion the judge told the state they would not be able to prove. Shinnecock has always called West Woods home. West Woods is the aboriginal territory of the Shinnecock Nation. 

Despite this, New York maintains its baseless lawsuit against the Shinnecock Nation in an attempt to strangle the Nation’s attempts to engage in economic development in order to meet the basic housing, education, and food needs of its tribal members. At a time of global pandemic, while the Shinnecock Nation struggles to ensure their people have food, New York State engages in meritless litigation in an attempt to make the Shinnecock Monument unprofitable due to exuberant legal defense fees. The Shinnecock Nation has the right to engage in economic development in order to meet the basic needs of its people. 

Times are bad at Shinnecock due to the Town of Southampton and the State of New York. The Grandmothers have no choice but to take action. We do not have adequate housing, food, education or health care. 

We demand more.

OUR DEMANDS

New York State:

  • NYS must drop its baseless lawsuit against the Shinnecock Nation over its monument.
  • A meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo at Camp
  • NYS must recognize and respect the Shinnecock Nation’s Trade and Fishing Rights
  • NYS must pass the unmarked Grave Protection Laws

Town of Southampton:

  • The Community Preservation Fund (CPF) must prioritize purchase of land in the Shinnecock Hills before any other purchases.
  • The Town of Southampton must recognize and respect the Shinnecock land boundaries.
  • The Town of Southampton represented by their elected Board of Trustees must meet in good faith with the selected members of the Shinnecock Nation to discuss real and tangible paths to restitution regarding illegal land sales and transfers.

Town of Southampton/New York State:

  • The Town of Southampton and New York State must Recognize and Respect the rights of the Sovereign Shinnecock Nation to pursue any and all economic ventures and cease and desist their attempts and efforts to interfere with that right.

United States:

  • Formally recognize and declare all Shinnecock territory as restricted fee land and “Indian Country” for all purposes.
  • Engage with the Shinnecock Nation in litigation assistance against the State of New York for the theft of the Shinnecock Hills in 1859.
  • Actively assist the Shinnecock Nation in acquiring trust land and reconcile racist 1930s policies against Shinnecock people due to the color of their skin and the texture of their hair that currently prevent Shinnecock from acquiring trust land.
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