Judges reject Shinnecock, Paugussett land claims

by Walter Olson on December 13, 2006

In two separate cases, federal judges have rejected high-profile but long-shot claims by Indian tribes asserting ownership of land tracts in the Northeast. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas C. Platt said the Shinnecock tribe of Long Island, New York (see Jun. 13, Jun. 19 and Jun. 27, 2005), had forfeited its potential claim on 3,600 acres of high-value land in the Hamptons by waiting more than 140 years to assert possession. (John Moreno Gonzales, “Ruling aside, tribe plans to build casino”, Newsday, Dec. 5; “Judge cites passage of time in Shinnecock land claim”, Indianz.com, Dec. 6; ruling in PDF format courtesy Indianz.com). And in New Haven, U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton brought homeowners’ ordeal nearer an end Nov. 29 by ruling against the federally unrecognized group that calls itself the Golden Hill Paugussetts, which has been asserting land claims in various Connecticut towns for 14 years. (Gale Courey Toensing, “Golden Hill Paugussetts will appeal rejected land claims”, Indian Country Today, Dec. 11).