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Story - Education

Jun 22, 2010 5:20 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Shinnecock Nation explores opening tribal college at Stony Brook Southampton site

Jun 22, 2010 5:20 PM

The Shinnecock Indian Nation, which secured federal recognition just last week, is interested in opening a tribe-operated college at the current site of Stony Brook Southampton, officials said.

Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs approached New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. earlier this month, and the two men briefly discussed the idea, Mr. Thiele confirmed this week.

“They expressed interest in the campus for a tribal college,” he said. “I think they have a great attachment to that college. It’s been a source of opportunity for a number of members of the Nation.”

Mr. Thiele said he would be open to the idea of the Shinnecocks sharing the 81-acre Shinnecock Hills campus with another educational institution. “I could see the Shinnecocks playing a role there,” he said. “It certainly is something that would be worth further discussion.”

Stony Brook University had been running the site since 2007 as a satellite campus geared toward environmental studies before announcing in early April that it would mothball most of the campus at the end of the summer and explore new uses for the land. University officials said they were losing some $10 million a year operating the satellite campus and could save $6.7 million by closing most of the programs there.

Mr. Gumbs confirmed the tribe’s interest in the proposal this week. He said the tribe must continue talking to local lawmakers to see if they support the proposal, and added that he will explore federal funding and grant opportunities for the school.

“Having a tribal college would be extremely beneficial to our tribal members, and we would absolutely want it accredited,” he said.

Lauren Sheprow, a Stony Brook University spokeswoman, said the tribe has not yet approached the university about the idea. She added that the university is currently putting together a task force that will consider the question of how to use the campus in the future.

“In that regard, we would welcome the chance to explore options with the Shinnecock Indian Nation,” Ms. Sheprow wrote in an e-mail this week. She added that the university plans to continue its graduate writing program and marine sciences research courses at the site.

Beverly Jensen, the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s director of communications, said the idea has been floated, but the tribal leadership is currently focussing on getting its federal recognition finalized. The recognition will likely take effect after a 30-day comment period ends in July.

“It’s just an idea on the table,” she said of the college proposal. “Somebody had an idea, and it has been discussed. The tribe has not worked on it as an idea yet.”

Ms. Jensen added that a tribal college is not likely to come anytime soon: “Certainly, a Native American college would be a wonderful idea on the East End, but that’s way down the road.”

If the tribe wants to operate on the state-owned college property as part of a consortium with the State University of New York or one or more private colleges, it will most likely be subject to a rental agreement, according to Dina Horwedel, director of public education for the American Indian College Fund, a Colorado-based organization that provides scholarships to tribal college students.

It’s unclear what a Shinnecock tribal college would look like, as the plan is still highly tentative. There are 33 accredited Native American tribal colleges throughout the United States, and all of them are located in the western part of the country, according to the American Indian College Fund.

Some offer two-year degrees while others offer four-year degrees, according to Ms. Horwedel. Tribal colleges typically offer full college curriculums with added emphasis on native languages and cultural practices, tribal administration and tribal history.

They are usually not limited to tribe members, Ms. Horwedel said. In fact, while Native American students are always in the majority at tribal colleges throughout the United States, the schools are often attended by many non-native students, she said. Tuition is usually the same for all students, both native and non-native, she said.

Mr. Gumbs said that a Shinnecock tribal college, if ever pursued, would be open to outsiders. “It wouldn’t just be for the Shinnecock Indian Nation,” he said. “Obviously, it would give the secondary schooling that our kids are looking for, going to college, and that’s just one aspect. But it’s a lot more than just for tribal people.”

All but a handful of tribal colleges in the United States are located on reservation lands, Ms. Horwedel said. While the Stony Brook Southampton campus is not considered part of the nearby Shinnecock Indian Reservation, it is part of some 3,600 acres in central Southampton Town claimed by the tribe in a federal lawsuit filed in 2005. The lawsuit is currently on hold, Ms. Jensen said.

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Tribal College...why not?
then when Tim Bishop gets un-elected in Nov. he can be the Dean or chancellor, or Chief Honcho and take the tribal name of "HOOTY-OWL"
Why not?
By uncleronk (136), southold on Jun 23, 10 10:51 AM
I'll say it too. Why not?
Jun 23, 10 12:01 PM appended by Mr. Z
In all seriousness, it could really benefit everyone. The state can't help, they've been too irresponsible fiscally to do anything to help. This tribe has ALWAYS been an integral part of the community, and if they can make the college possible, why discount any effort by them?
By Mr. Z (11562), North Sea on Jun 23, 10 12:01 PM
2 members liked this comment
why should nassau get the revenue? keep the casino where it belongs in suffolk.
By banjack (45), port jeff on Jun 23, 10 4:19 PM
ditto and if they want a tribal college , great...will bring more industry to town, jobs, people,etc.
By Infoseeker (279), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 3:47 PM
I can't wait to sign up for Basket Weaving 101
By WHBinManhattan (47), Manhattan/Westhampton on Jun 23, 10 4:25 PM
What an ignorant statement! Stop labeling!! I think it's an "excel"lent idea to open a tribal college. That would be a very positive move and a successful one!!!
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jun 24, 10 1:44 PM
These boards are littered with drivel from ignorant bigots, but you, sir, take the cake
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 4:47 PM
2 members liked this comment
wow are the "indians" really looking to do something goodinstead of tobacco, drugs, gambling, guns?
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 24, 10 1:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
You use "Sir" in your name, yet you seem to not the meaning of honor, Ironic.

Please if you haven't already, don't reproduce!
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 24, 10 12:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
When you say "indians" are you referring to ALL "indians", all members of the Shinnecock Nation, some???? I just want to know how deep your ignorance goes, SirHampton.
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jun 24, 10 1:56 PM
SirHampton, sounds like you could use a little polish to your education...maybe you should consider a few courses when it opens.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 24, 10 2:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
Oh, is it only the "Indians" who sell tobacco, drugs, run casinos and sell guns??? That's news to me. If you want to discuss ethnicities and nationalities there's a whole host you can bring up who are in the same business and who ALSO educate themselves.
By Infoseeker (279), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 3:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
I misspoke above. I accused another poster of being the king of ignorant posters, but that was before I read your comment. SirHampton, you are an __________
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 4:48 PM
2 members liked this comment
A tribal college sounds like a good idea to me. I'm all in favor of it. It would be great for students from the reservation plus it would provide an opportunity for kids from western reservations to come east for an education. The poverty on some of those reservations is appalling to see, especially in more remote areas.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 24, 10 10:25 AM
3 members liked this comment
Here:
http://64.38.12.138/

and here:
http://www.tribalfinance.org/index.html
By Mr. Z (11562), North Sea on Jun 24, 10 4:08 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jun 24, 10 12:09 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jun 24, 10 12:09 PM
if this campus is till going to be used for educating college students whether they are from the tribe or other SUNY schools, why were the students who were already studying there kicked out? If any students are taught there, these students should be the first ones to be re-enrolled.
By js (44), NY on Jun 24, 10 2:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
NO,NO,NO What are you people smoking?Lets let the Indian nation graduate High School first.(Check SHS stats)The Indian nation talking about education? Educating people about how the White settlers stole their land? We cannot afford any land going off the tax role. As you know, they would then be tax exempt. "Peace and harmony with keepers of the land" along with Casino owners,addictions and debt makers. What's wrong with this picture?
By gallerygirl (29), southampton on Jun 24, 10 2:34 PM
California has now proposed a law to prohibit welfare cards from being used at gambling establishments, and their respective ATMs.
Maybe we should look around, and find ways to be ahead of the curve, eh?
By Mr. Z (11562), North Sea on Jun 24, 10 6:21 PM
Well, looks like I am wrong again - gallerygirl's posting is even more ignorant and bigoted than those before her. Such hatred for a group of people that never did anything to you. The white's didn't steal the land of native Americans? Who taught you to hate like that? Did your parents not love you enough? Seek help.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 7:19 PM
*ignores blatant racism*

The property IS already off the tax roles, as it's owned by NYS. Please fact check before spouting.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 10:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
I think its a very good idea and a good goal to keep education to continue on the campus for anyones benefit .
By KenBrownEagle (6), Southampton on Jun 24, 10 3:02 PM
3 members liked this comment
Now, that's what I'm talking about!! Nicely said, KenBrown Eagle!
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jun 25, 10 9:13 AM
How about affiliating with another university and offering courses in "Casino construction, operation and financing". It could attract Native American students from all over the United States and give them pragmatic, effective instruction in running their gaming business rather than just contracting it out to organized crimel, (forgive me, I misspoke), that is to say, a third party contractor.

Legal gaming is going to explode in this country. Not just on Native American lands, where it ...more
By highhatsize (4149), East Quogue on Jun 24, 10 3:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Very interesting thought. Even makes sense.
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jun 25, 10 9:16 AM
This is an excellent idea. And it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Locals just want a standard, adaptable college education at an affordable price. LIU-Southampton College had the majors everyone wanted, but a high price tag due to it having to be priced at the same level as sister school CW Post on the Gold Coast. Stony Brook has proven to be too temperamental -- with a strange form of budgetary ADHD; one minute the campus is a model for the whole country to follow; the next it's being called ...more
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Jun 24, 10 9:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
Stony Brook is setting up a task force to decide the fate of the campus- they'll use this method to defuse responsibility for selling the land to pay down their deficit. The Shinnecocks should get control of the campus; they are the first people who have a true historical bond with the land. Racist comments greatly inspire the tribe to fight harder to retrieve control of their ancestral ethnic lands. Racist comments highlight the dire need to have an ethnic studies center here.
By Tree Man (19), Southampton on Jun 25, 10 3:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is the first comment that I have read, since the day Federal Recognition to the Shinnecock Nation was declared, that puts a very unique take on the hatred, bigotry and prejudices that I have seen posted on these boards. Yes, take all these negative and hateful comments and run with them in the right direction, Shinnecock Nation!! Mr. Tree Man, you are a very wise man!!
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jun 25, 10 9:39 AM
UNELANA....WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE HERE IN SOUTHAMPTON??? IT IS AMAZING HOW YOU ARE SOOOO INTERESTED NOTEING YOU ARE FROM NORTH WALES PA.
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Jul 2, 10 11:56 AM
@ UNITED states CITIZEN... I'm not sure if your question and statement are negative or positive, but I will answer nonetheless. My family lives in Southampton and the surrounding areas.
By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jul 8, 10 1:45 PM
"These boards"? Hahaha this a newspaper website with a comment section. Stop taking yourself so seriously! One world/one people. Why put a label on it?
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Jun 25, 10 7:10 AM
If you're so above it all, why read and comment on the postings? Stop taking hatred and ignorance so lightly.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Jun 25, 10 7:57 AM
i say make the college the casino ; ) or maybe that's already the plan...
By Kaiser Sozay (31), east end on Jun 25, 10 9:04 AM
At the SUNY Southampton graduation last month, Elizabeth Haile whispered to me, "Think Shinnecock Tribal College." Since I have just lost my job at SUNY Southampton that is exactly what I have been thinking. And on Solstice Eve we lit a sacred fire to bless the land our campus is on and I put into those flames "Shinnecock Tribal College."
I cannot think of a better way to give back to our native brothers and sisters than to give them the campus and land that was theirs to begin with and to continue ...more
By heatherdune (12), Hampton Bays on Jun 25, 10 2:16 PM
I absolutely would support a Shinnecock Indian College. I think sustainability could be one component of what could be offered at the college. I would like the Shinnecocks to think about what they need from a college.

They are right to first concern themselves with finishing the federal proceedure to be a recognized tribe. They have gathered material for more than 30 years to prove their status.

Many people are ignorant about what it is like to live on a reservation. Many people ...more
By VenecianWaters (6), southampton on Jun 25, 10 8:27 PM
Though I have been labeled as a "socialist" in the past, I will say this:

There is only one way "Humanity" is apt to survive, and is sure as HELL WILL NOT BE if every "man" is for "himself".

"One world/One people"?

That is the ONLY way we will EVER survive from a universal standpoint.

If we don't all come together for OUR own survival, WE WILL NOT.
Jun 26, 10 2:12 AM appended by Mr. Z
Survive, e.g. ...
By Mr. Z (11562), North Sea on Jun 26, 10 2:12 AM
The amount of bigotry that pops up in the comment section of this paper is staggering. I'd be nice if the SH Press did a story on bigotry in the Hamptons, they wouldn't even have to look far, just look in the comment section of their own website and scroll through any story that has anything to do with any minority group.
By cochise316 (58), southampton on Jun 26, 10 7:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like this idea is still in its infancy....it sounds good on the surface and may be a great thing. One cannot fault the Shinnecock tribe for being ambitious. This ambitiousness is the American way. If it succeeds, all will benefit. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this article is the reminder that there exists a lawsuit in which the Shinnecocks seek to have many acres of land that is currently privately owned "awarded" to them, based on the premise that it was illegally taken from them ...more
By Born Here (26), HB on Jun 26, 10 9:39 AM
By the time a tribal college can be established, Stony Brook/SUNY will have already sold the property to the highest bidder and the 800 students who were just kicked out to make the way clear for that will have been long forgotten. A tribal college seems like a good idea but will be a long time coming. In the meantime, the community needs to protect the property. LaValle & Thiele have petitioned the legislature to add language to the budget that would keep the college in operation & prevent its ...more
By js (44), NY on Jun 28, 10 2:42 AM
By the time a tribal college can be established, Stony Brook/SUNY will have already sold the property to the highest bidder and the 800 students who were just kicked out to make the way clear for that will have been long forgotten. Right now, the community needs to protect the property. LaValle & Thiele have petitioned the legislature to add language to the budget that would keep the current college in operation. You all should be contacting the governor to grant that petition.


By js (44), NY on Jun 28, 10 2:45 AM
See comment ("Shinnecock College?") here on 4/7/10 at 8:24 PM:

http://www.27east.com/story_detail.cfm?id=269571

The Great Spirit will breathe Life into this concept IMO.
By PBR (4947), Southampton on Jun 29, 10 7:11 PM
The citizens of Southampton Town do not want a casino...and it doesn't make sense that Stony Brook closed down...It is a beautiful piece of property...now watch someone ruin it and all the towns surrounding it "to boot"! Greed is the name of this game!!!!!!
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Jul 2, 10 12:00 PM
Why not have a tribal college? Its a great campus and it would be good to see the site continue to be used for education. The last thing I'd want to see it the land torn up for some outlandish development.
By Damon.Hagan (34), Southampton on Jul 2, 10 12:44 PM
@ UNITED states CITIZEN (dated July 2)... I'm not sure if your question and statement are negative or positive, but I will answer nonetheless. My family lives in Southampton and the surrounding areas.


By unelana (29), North Wales PA on Jul 8, 10 1:48 PM
I think it's a great idea. I'd like to see the environmental studies returned to that campus, added to a cultural studies center, and to echo highhatsize, a finance/management concentration. That would return the land to the Shinnecock, preserve its character, and create a lot of decent academic and support jobs.

I still have questions about the utter lack of transparency that the state and SUNY/Stony Brook have in their financial decision-making, though.
By Rt27A (1), Brookhaven on Jul 14, 10 2:50 PM
Good ideas. Stony Brook is putting together an advisory to decide what it will do with the campus property. How many Shinnecocks do you think it will include on that decision-making panel? I venture to guess none.
By js (44), NY on Jul 31, 10 12:29 AM
Hot Tubs,SALE, Southampton Village, SouthamptonFest weekend