The second Shinnecock Indian Nation electronic sign on Route 27 is ready.
Plans for a new casino on 800 acres of Shinnecock Indian Nation land will be announced on Wednesday, a nation spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.
On Wednesday at 11 a.m., the trunk and its development partner are expected to provide more specific details. Construction of the casino is scheduled to begin in summer.
The announcement follows the completion of the second of the tribe’s two 61-foot-tall electronic billboards, known as Monuments, on historic Aboriginal land in Hampton Bays on the Sunrise Highway. Bryan Polite, chairman of the Shinnecock Tribal Council, said the sign was lit last Thursday afternoon, albeit with little fanfare, as the Shinnecock community deeply mourns the loss of two of its members, Edward Gumbs and Wayne Crippen, last week .
Shinnecocks’ own corporate fund has finally started generating revenue from the first electronic sign, Polite said. The proceeds go to social programs such as day care centers and utilities, as well as public works and environmental initiatives.
“Completing these projects is more than just profitability for us. It’s cultural pride,” said Polite. “We can achieve things despite facing obstacles that have prevented us from doing these things in years past. People are proud and happy that we are trying to move the nation forward and work towards economic sustainability.”
Construction of the second sign took just a few weeks and continued despite the State Department of Transportation issued a work interruption order that threatened a fine of $ 1,000 per day, plus $ 1,000 per day for the first billboard. The state has claimed the billboards are on state right of way, but in May a Supreme Court judge denied the state’s motion for an injunction to have the first sign removed.
“All of the allegations you have made have already been tried and rejected,” Polite said of the DOT. “The nation has always maintained that we have authority over our own sovereign land and the DOT has no authority.” The court reaffirmed our position on sovereignty over the country. “
Rep. Fred W. Thiele Jr. said while he does not support a new gaming facility and finds the two highway signs “intrusive and atypical of the community”, the state is to blame for not partnering with the Shinnecock Nation on the economic development issue.
“The failure of government agencies to constructively involve the Shinnecock Nation in terms of economic development has led to the current conflict and controversy, which are counterproductive,” Thiele said on Tuesday. “I urge the governor and state authorities to hold talks with the Shinnecocks to resolve these issues.”
The first images to appear on the new billboard included a public announcement from musician Roger Waters in support of Shinnecocks sovereignty and a series of messages raising awareness for Black History Month.