Palumbo/Thiele Bill to Set Forth the State Recognition of the Montaukett Indian Tribe Passes Senate and Assembly

Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) today announced their bill, which would set forth acknowledgment and recognition for the Montaukett Indian Tribe by the State of New York, has passed both houses of the Legislature. 

The Montaukett Indians have a deep, culturally rich history on the East End of Long Island and have continued to thrive to this present day. The tribe was recognized by the State of New York until their acknowledgment was questionably removed by a 1910 State Supreme Court decision, Pharaoh v. Benson. Despite stark criticism against the reasoning behind this judicial action, it has shamefully prevailed for 112 years. 

The bill was first introduced in the 2013 legislative session and passed the Senate and the Assembly in 2013, 2017, and 2018. However, the former Governor subsequently vetoed each iteration, citing a need for the Department of State (DOS) to conduct the administrative process and make the final determination in defiance of a legislative precedent of granting Indian nation recognition. Nine years later, DOS has yet to make its determination despite promises of a proactive and timely administrative process. 

"For years, the New York State Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to give State recognition to the Montauketts only to see this important bill vetoed by the former governor," said Senator Anthony Palumbo. "For no justifiable reason, the Montauketts were stripped of their status in 1910. The reinstatement of tribal status is long overdue and will correct generations of mistreatment. I urge the Governor to sign this legislation into law to provide the Montauketts the recognition they have sought for so long and deserve."

"The Montaukett Indian Nation deserves to regain their recognition, and I am proud that the New York State Legislature has passed this long-overdue bill to correct such a historical injustice against members of our East End community, said Assemblymember Thiele. "I thank my colleagues in both the Senate and the Assembly for their action and strongly urge Governor Hochul to finally reinstate the rights of the Montauketts."