The Shinnecock Indian Nation, a self-governing tribe residing along the shores of Eastern Long Island that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, is scheduled to receive some much needed assistance from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) released the following statement from Shinnecock Chairman Trustee Randy King describing the current state of the reservation:
"We know a tidal surge of about four to six feet came into the Reservation. We still do not have electricity. We had out Tribal burial grounds halfway covered with water. Right now it is the electricity (that is needed) which is the issue." Without the electricity there is no heat and temperatures are falling in the area. "It’s getting cold and some of our elders don’t have ways to heat their home. We have gotten a liaison from FEMA, Ashley Smith, is helping us assess the whole situation too," King added. Smith and FEMA Special Advisor for National Tribal Affairs at Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Richard Flores continue to coordinate efforts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and organizations like the Red Cross.
According to USET, several Tribes, like the Seminole Tribe of Florida, have lots of experience on how to respond and recover after natural disasters. Seminole Executive Director of Public Safety Jerry Wheeler is sending a response team to New York that will assist the Shinnecock with "assessment, help coordinate resources, and assist with documentation for state and federal agencies."
The Shinnecock Reservation is on the east end of Long Island in Suffolk County, New York.