The ‘Receipt for Indian Lease’ for Shinnecock’s 1703 lease of the Shinnecock Hills was signed on April 13, 1793, by Absalom Cuffee, David Jacobs, and Abraham Jacobs of the Shinnecock Nation.
This major agreement also established the Shinnecock Trustee system which is still in effect today. The townspeople wanted to establish a convenient system for leasing Shinnecock lands to white farmers. It was an important first step toward seizing the hills, but ironically, it also created a very effective system of governance for the Shinnecock which has enabled them to preserve our heritage and assist with protecting ancient lands.2
A meeting of the Magistrates (of the town of Southampton & Shinnecock Indian Nation trustees April 8th, 1816.3
Voted that there be one hundred acres laid out in Shinnecock
Voted that the trustees repair the fence & clear the Neck.
Voted that no one shall have a garden laid out except where he lives.
David Rose, Wm Herrick, James Peirson – Southampton Justices
Ab Jacob, David Walkus, James Waberton – Shinnecock Trustees
In 1992 the Shinnecock Nation extended to resident female tribal members the right to elect tribal Trustees and vote on tribal business.4
In that same year, the Shinnecock established a thirteen-member Tribal Council, elected for two-year terms, to serve as an advisory body and communications facilitation group within the Nation.4
In February 2013, the Shinnecock Nation passed a constitution that overhauled their entire government. The three-member Trustee board was phased out and on December 10th, 2014, replaced by a seven-member Council of Trustees. The Council is the traditional way of governing before the State of NY imposing the three-man Trustee system on the Shinnecock Nation in 1792.5
Trustees & Tribal Leadership Today
To find more information about today’s elected tribal trustees, please visit this link at the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
Shinnecock Indian Nation
- Beverly Jensen, Images of America – Shinnecock Indian Nation, pp. 7
- Gaynell Stone, The Shinnecock Indians – A Culture History Vol VI, 1983, pp 62
- Gaynell Stone, The Shinnecock Indians, A Culture History, vol vi, 1983 pp. 159
- Michael L. Lawson, Introduction of the Evidence of The Shinnecock Indian Nation, 2009 pp. 2-3
- From the 2014 Shinnecock Nation Powwow Program.
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