Court Strikes Casino Ban for Shinnecock Nation


On Monday, a federal appeals court struck down a 2008 federal court decision barring the Shinnecock Indian Nation from building a casino on their tribal lands in Southampton, ruling the issue belongs under the jurisdiction of state courts.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ruled the matter between the State of New York and the Town of Southampton against the Shinnecock’s casino is one that should be settled in state rather than federal court.

The decision nullifies a 2008 permanent injunction granted to the town and state preventing the Shinnecock Indian Nation from building a casino near the Shinnecock Canal on its Hampton Bays property known as Westwoods.

On Tuesday, the Shinnecock Indian Nation Board of Trustees responded to the ruling, stating this was an opportunity for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to bring the Nation to the table and discuss a partnership between the state and the nation as Governor Cuomo has expressed interest in expanding gaming in New York.

Since the injunction was granted in 2008, the Nation has said it would not want to go against the wishes of the community and build a casino at Westwoods, but would prefer to find a situation where the tribe could have a casino further west on Long Island.

“The Shinnecock Indian Nation was gratified to learn that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today vacated the judgment and injunction entered against it in litigation over the status and use of its tribe-owned land known as Westwoods,” said the Nation in a statement. “We thank the creator for lifting this burden and look forward to providing for the future of our people in a manner that is responsible and fair, as we always have in the past. Now that the Nation has been federally recognized as an Indian tribe and has been freed from the effects of that judgment and injunction, we again ask Governor Cuomo to sit down with the Nation to discuss how the Nation and the State can move forward together. Our ancestors and tribal leaders, both living and those who have gone before us, always have maintained our tribal lands for the benefit of all tribe members. This always will be our starting point for any discussions, and we look forward to finding an agreed basis with the State for realization of our common goals.”



  1. Shinnecock was one of the first tribes to make contact with the whites in the 1600s and still managed to survive despite illness that the white man brought, slavery, and forced servitude by Shinnecock men in the Circassian tragedy of December 30, 1876 where many of the men died in shipwreck during a blizzard. It’s a miracle the Shinnecock people are still here and clinging to their aboriginal land despite who they are mixed with. If you knew anything about Native Americans, you would know that being a tribe isn’t based on a racial identity, it’s based on a political identity that gives rise to the government-to-government relationship with the United States that enables tribes to assert sovereign rights.

  2. Please…politcal and/or racial identity to assert sovereign rights? It boils down to money and how I can use a part of my ancestry, maybe 10% Navtive American? to get an upper hand instead of living in the now. Everyone has been dealt a difficult hand one time or another, from the African Americans, Irish, Italians, Asians… all over the world and here. Even though it is wrong it was called colonization. Plus, the so called Shinnecock aren’t just victims. They are hardly role models for drugs or violence control.