Cedric Sunray: Natural disasters affect unrecognized tribes too

"In 2005, the Native American Times published an article I wrote titled “Similarities between tribes and the 9th Ward” which spoke to issues of neglect occurring against the residents of southern Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The current results of Hurricane Sandy have once again illuminated a complete lack of concern for certain tribal communities who have been impacted.

The United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), which represents twenty six federally recognized tribes, has turned another storm into an opportunity of self-promotion and purposeful omission of other Indian communities and reservations which occupy the regional areas of their member tribes. They have also used it as a platform to once again drill home to an unknowing public the rhetoric of “federal recognition”.

Only thirty miles down a Long Island, New York road from the Shinnecock stands the Poospatuck Indian Reservation which has been inhabited by the Unkechaug Nation since its formation in 1701 and whose people have lived in the general vicinity since time immemorial. The histories of the two tribes have been interwined throughout their existence, but there will be no relief fund set up for Unkechaug by USET, the BIA, or any other federal tribal entity. The Unkechaug’s “lack” of federal recognition registers them as non-existent to all of these key financial players."

Get the Story:
Cedric Sunray: Feathering the storm with USET (The Native American Times 11/8)

Join the Conversation