This week, the New York State Assembly passed a bill co-sponsored by Assemblyman Thiele (D- Sag Harbor) to protect unmarked burial sites. The Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act provides comprehensive protections to determine the cultural affiliation and disposition of human remains interred in an unmarked burial site. The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Englebright and has now passed both houses.
“I am pleased the Legislature has intervened to protect the numerous unmarked burial sites across New York State” said Assemblymember Fred Thiele. “Native American communities like the Shinnecocks, the Ukechaugs and the Montauketts on the East End of Long Island have long advocated for this Act. They have worked diligently to protect their sacred burial lands, including utilizing the Community Preservation Fund to preserve critical sites like Sugar Loaf in Shinnecock Hills. This bill will provide an additional tool and is a crucial step in righting the wrongs of the past by giving these lands the recognition and protection that Native American burial grounds deserve.
In addition, I am proud to sponsor legislation that restores official state acknowledgement of the Montaukett Indian Nation, which was dubiously stripped of its State recognition in 1910 by an ill-considered state court decision involving a land claim. These two bills, which have now passed both houses, will finally correct these injustices. I urge the Governor to sign both laws.”