Who are the Montauk Tribe of Indians?
The Montauk Tribe of Indians is our ancestral and cultural name which came under attack in 1910 when the New York State Courts unlawfully claimed that we no longer existed as a Tribe. We have never surrendered, nor will we ever surrender, our tribal identity, heritage, culture, kinship, and sovereignty.
Who is a Montauk Citizen?
As with our ancestors, a Montauk Citizen can be by birth or by naturalization. Individuals born with Montauk blood are Montauk Citizens. Adopted minor children of Montauk Citizens can become naturalized Montauk Citizens. Adults adopted into the tribe can also become naturalized Montauk Citizens. It should be noted that the federal government does not permit Natives to be listed as enrolled citizens of two tribes. That is why it is common to hear Natives say "I am a citizen of Tribe A and also of Tribe B heritage".
What is the Montauk Tribe of Indians about?
The simple answer is that it is all about the will of the Montauk Citizens. The Montauk Tribe of Indians is not about individuals or groups, it is about the tribe. Every Montauk Citizen supports reinstatement to the official list of federally recognized tribes; a return of an ancestral land base; the continued celebration of our customs and language; economic development; inclusiveness and kinship; and the right of self-determination and sovereignty.
Did the Montauk Tribe ever lose its recognition from the U.S. Government?
No. The U.S. Government recognized the Montauk Tribe of Indians as a tribe during the unlawful action of the New York State Courts. The Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Government documented in writing on June 29, 1906, that the Montauk Tribe of Indians quote '...is an existing Indian tribe...'. The U.S. Government has never withdrawn or terminated the federal recognition of the Montauk Tribe of Indians.
Did the New York Court decision terminate the U.S. Government's recognition of the Montauk Tribe of Indians?
No. Only the U.S. government can withdraw or terminate federal recognition of a tribe and repeats stating that the U.S. Government has never withdrawn or terminated the federal recognition of the Montauk Tribe of Indians.
Why isn't the Montauk Tribe of Indians on the official list of federally recognized tribes?
The answer to this question is what all Montauk Citizens want to know. That is our shared challenge to the U.S. government. The U.S. Government recognized that we are an "existing Indian tribe" and only the U.S. Government can withdraw or terminate recognition. The unlawful and illegitimate action of the New York State Courts does not change the fact that the U.S. Government declared the Montauk Tribe of Indians to be an "existing Indian Tribe".
The Montauk Tribe of Indians does not have to seek federal recognition, rather the Montauk Tribe of Indians needs to be reinstated to the official list of federally recognized tribes. This is not mere semantics. We were never "unrecognized", we just need to be added back to the official list which is a right that was never taken away.
How can the Montauk Tribe of Indians be placed back on the official list of federally recognized tribes?
This can be achieved in one of four ways:
1. It can be ordered by the President either by |Presidential Decree or by the President instructing the Director of
How is the Montauk Tribe of Indians governed?
The answer is the same as it has always been, the tribe is governed by the Montauk Citizens. The various parts of the government, be it a Chief, a Sunksqa, a Council, or a Committee, derive and maintain any authority to govern the affairs of the tribe directly from the Montauk Citizens.
What is a Sunksqa?
A Sunksqa is a tribal leader empowered by the tribal citizens to promote the interests of the tribe. Quashawam was a Sunksqa of the Montauk Tribe of Indians and she was a revered tribal leader not only among Montauk Citizens but among the Eastern Woodland tribes and white settlers as well.
What about Chiefs, Clan Mothers, and other Tribal Leaders?
A Sunksqa does not and has never replaced or diminished the position or authority of other tribal leaders. The Montauk Citizens choose how the tribe is to be governed and which individuals have the honor of representing them. As now as it was for our ancestors, tribal leaders are chosen by the tribe. In addition to those chosen by the tribe, there are traditional positions of honor and respect held by virtue of family,, seniority, or past service to the tribe. None of that changes with the Montauk Tribe of Indians. As we are all aware, many Native tribes and Eastern Woodland Algonquin tribes have both elected Chiefs and traditional Chiefs.
What about the efforts of other Montauks to work with state or the U.S. Government?
The Montauk Tribe of Indians supports any effort to benefit the Montauk Citizens and the tribe. This is not an "us verse them" contest that unfortunately is seen too often in Native Tribes. Our ancestors did not fish in only one boat, grow in only one field, or hunt in only one forest. There are multiple ways to sustain the tribe both then and now.