P.O. Box 454
Brightwaters, NY 11718
The Matouwac Research Center is the historical research arm of the Montaukett Indian Nation. The Montaukett was once the preeminent Native Nation on Long Island with the seat of our territory located in the town of Easthampton at Montauk Point. Unlike the other two Long Island Native Nations, the Shinnecock and the Unkechaug (Poosepatuck), the Montaukett territory was seized by the Easthampton trustees based on a treaty supposedly signed In the mid 17th century between Chief Wyandanch and English settler Lion Gardiner.
In 1879 the Easthampton trustees sold our land at auction to land developer Arthur Benson for $150,000. For the next 35 years, the Montaukett, led by Chief Wyandank Pharaoh, fought unsuccessfully in the New York Courts to regain our territory. The tribe's main argument was that both the 1777 New York constitution and the 1787 federal constitution expressly forbade the selling of Indian territory. In 1910, we made our final appeal to the New York Supreme Court in the case known as Pharaoh vs. Benson. With 75 Montauketts in attendance, the presiding judge Abel Blackmar ruled against the Montaukett declaring that treaties signed under a British King superceded both the NY and federal constitutions. Blackmar further ruled that in his opinion the Montaukett no longer existed because "It has disintegrated and been absorbed into the mass of citizens." His declaration, which we consider judicial genocide, removed the standing of the Montaukett Nation as a sovereign entity, effectively eliminating the possibility of further court action in New York.
It has been 102 years since this 1910 debacle. Now, the Montaukett under the leadership of Chief Robert Wyandance Pharaoh have redoubled our efforts to overturn Judge Blackmar's ruling. Chief Robert Pharaoh is a direct descendant of Wyandank Pharaoh who filed the original suit and the well-known Stephen Talkhouse Pharaoh. Last year we finally made a breakthrough thanks to NY Senator LaValle and NY Assemblyman Thiele. They are the co-sponsors of a bill: A07420B (same as S 5894-B), which proposes to overturn the 1910 NY Supreme Court ruling and create a procedure for restoring the Montaukett as a historical NY State Indian nation. This bill has made it through the rules committee without objection, and is now eligible for a final Assembly vote.
We, the Montaukett descendants, are asking all those who would support our cause to join in our effort to overturn a 102-year unconstitutional injustice by contacting the NY State government to support the passage of the Montaukett Recognition bill. We have nearly 1000 registered members, with several hundred still living in the New York area.
Our Chief Robert Pharaoh wants to make it clear that the Montaukett do not entertain any "casino Indian" aspirations. Although he cannot speak for our cousin tribes, he has declared that Indian Gaming is incompatible with the Montaukett way. In addition, he recognizes that Montauk Point is now a historical settled town and he has no intentions of interfering with that community in any way.
We consider ourselves the caretakers of land given by the Creator. As a recognized NY historical Indian nation, Chief Pharaoh pledges to add our voice to all ungoing environmental efforts aimed at preserving our beloved Long Island. Please visit our websites for further information about the Montaukett Indian Nation and to contact our representatives directly. Thank you.
The Matouwac Research Center is a UN-registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization
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