Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I attended Stony Brook University in anthropology and work in "contract" or "public" archaeology where required by law. I have attended some of the Shinnecock pow-wows growing up and as an adult, once listed by the US Department of Commerce as one of a number of cultural events in the US. I would hope that at least, that government look at some of the research of the Suffolk County Archaeology Association. Imagine the times of William Floyd, fourth signer of the "Declaration of Independence" perhaps the first New Yorker and visits to him by the "founding fathers" (after serving as a general) and some of the words collected from native Long Islanders in their visit. I find it odd, if I am correct, that in 1910, the Federal Court, in the so-called Tweed Courthouse, the headquarters today of the NYC Dept. of Education in City Hall Park, was the location of the Suffolk County federal court that decided the Montaukett were not a "tribe". Next door, City Hall, was designed by the same architect as the Montauk lighthouse, and the original Yankee Stadium was built in McComb's Dam Park, named after him. How much further could a trial be from Montauk and who was represented by whom? Growing up next to the Denham Brothers ironworks in Centereach, I watched some of the Shinnecock Canal lock doors be made and transported for the canal. I've also read in the "Scotsman" America's first golf course, with 12 holes, was opened at Shinnecock. A story going around has it that the sand traps are there to protect burials, a battlefield from a previous battle from across the Sound. Without native American support, according to the recently deceased Robert Gardiner, once heir to Gardiners Island (that granted by James, King of Scotland), the first 15,000 acres of what became Brookhaven Town would not have been granted by native Long Islanders to his ancestor, a payment for negotiating a hostage situation that developed from across the Sound. Working in archaeology I must also state that the antiquity of native settlement on Long Island has been very long and interesting. Gaynell Stone, PhD might add, that due to the known bravery of the Shinnecock rescuing shipwreck victims, and at one time at a great loss of a number of their lives, coastal rescue stations were setup ("lifeguard" was more a colonial term for "bodyguard" as once surrounded General George Washington a once earlier visitor noted in Greenport) to save those who found themselves in peril. I hope something can be worked out. There's still more interesting history and prehistory of Long Island to explore.