By Nick Martin (The New Republic)
Before one can really grasp the state’s claims and its insistence on using tax dollars to fight the Shinnecock, it’s important to understand that there is no way to view the legal fight over this monument in a vacuum. This struggle against New York and Southampton for Shinnecock economic independence is not separate from those that preceded it, nor will it be unique from the ones that inevitably follow. The monument fight is the latest iteration of Shinnecock people having to spend crucial funds and hours defending their basic sovereignty and economic autonomy. And standing on the front lines, issuing that full-throated reminder to accompany the monument, are the Warriors of the Sunrise.
The Warriors are a group of Shinnecock women, among them Margo Thunderbird, Tela Troge, Becky Genia, and Jennifer E. Cuffee-Wilson, all of whom helped establish Sovereignty Camp 2020, an encampment on the northern side of Sunrise Highway, across from the constructed monument. With the aid of groups like the Long Island Progressive Coalition and the Red Nation, the camp was established on October 31 by the Warriors as a physical rejection of New York’s purported claim to the Westwoods, the land that the camp and the monument rest on.
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