"In order to qualify the Shinnecock literally had to prove that they existed, submitting thousands of pages of tribal records.
Many believe that the lengthy and painful process that the Shinnecock have been forced to go through is explained by the tribe's position bang in the middle of the Hamptons, the string of Long Island towns where rich New Yorkers come to party away the summers. The difference between Shinnecock land and the rest of the Hamptons is jarring. The reservation, signalled by a line of stalls selling cheap cigarettes, sits side by side with the town of Southampton, heart of the Hamptons scene.
On the reservation, some roads are dusty and unpaved. The houses can be ramshackle. Unemployment can be a problem for many Shinnecock members. Outside it on the streets of Southampton, stretch limos and black Lexus prowl down streets lined with shops selling Ralph Lauren and Diane von Furstenberg. A real estate agent on Southampton's main street happily advertises a local house going for $12.2m.
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