Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
Native Brief: SHINNECOCK TRIBE ON LONG ISLAND - In the face of impending Hurricane Irene, which is due to come ashore on Long Island, New York early Sunday, the majority of the 600 tribal members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation have chosen to remain there.
The tribal members are stuck on Long Island since the bridges to the mainland were closed earlier today.
Hurricane Irene is rated a Category 1 storm with strong winds and is producing heavy rainfalls as it moves it way north along the eastern portion of the United States. By early evening Saturday, Hurricane Irene is responsible for at least six deaths in the United States. CNN reports a million people are without electricity in North Carolina and Virginia.
Shinnecock Indian Nation Family Preservation Center is Serving as Storm Command Headquarters
“We have a lot of old-timers who just are not going to leave their homes unless they have to,”
said Tribal Chairman Randy King to the Native News Network early Saturday evening.
“The majority of our reservation is at sea level, so when the rains come, we will get water,”
Chairman King said that tribal members will be able to seek shelter about five miles from the reservation where there is community center ready with cots, water and generators.
“My bags are packed, but I want to stay home. I will leave if I have to,”
commented Beverly Jensen, communications director, of the Tribe.
Bags packed or not, Jensen and others will have to find shelter somewhere on Long Island if they leave their homes because the bridges are closed to the mainland portion of New York.
Earlier in the day, a member of the Emergency Management Team from the Tribe and firefighters from the city of South Hampton, Long Island, New York went door-to-door telling tribal members they should evacuate their homes to seek shelter on the mainland.
"We have participated in telephone calls with Homeland Security. Janet Napolitano was on the phone, We have coordinated with Homeland Security and IHS and I think we are ready." Janet Napolitano is secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Indian Health Services (IHS) provides generators to tribal members who may need electricity due to medical needs.
The Shinnecock Indian Nation is a federally recognized tribe that gained its recognition October 2010. The Shnnecock Indian Nation is located on the East End of Long Island adjacent to the town of Southampton.
updated August 28, 2011 11:20 am edt; posted August 27, 2011 10:00 pm edt
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