Shinnecock Nation citizens must pay to access their ancestral land

Dyani Brown stands on Coopers Beach in New York in October 2014, two months after she received a ticket for parking at the beach. Photo from Facebook

A member of the Shinnecock Nation of New York is challenging a parking ticket on the grounds that she should be able to freely access her tribe's ancestral lands.

Dyani Brown was hit with a parking ticket at a beach in Southampton in August 2014. She wouldn't have to pay the ticket if she were considered a resident of the village.

But the village doesn't consider tribal members to be residents even though they live on the reservation right next door.

"We are the ‘people of the stony shore,’” Brown told The Southampton Press. “By them trying to inhibit our access to our coastal waters, it’s a disruption to who we are as people.”

Brown has asked the village to allow tribal members who live next door to be treated the same as residents. But officials aren't budging.

"The reality is, it is an issue for the court system to handle," Mayor Mark Epley told the paper.

Brown, who graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., this month with a degree in public communications, hopes to set a precedent for fellow tribal members by challenging the parking ticket. She has a court date next week, the paper reported.

Get the Story:
Shinnecock Tribal Member Fights For More Than Parking Ticket (The Southampton Press 5/10)

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