Shinnecock Indians. An Algonquian tribe or band on Long Island, New York, formerly occupying the south coast from Shinnecock Bay to Montauk Point. Many of them joined the Brotherton Indians in New York. About 150 still remain on a reservation of 750 acres, 3 miles west of Southampton, having intermarried with Negroes until their aboriginal character is almost obliterated. Nowedonah, brother of the noted Wyandanch, was once their chief, and on his death his sister, wife of Cockenoe, became his successor. In Dec. 1876, 28 Shinnecock men lost their lives in an attempt to save a ship stranded off Easthampton, since which time a number, especially the younger people, have left the reservation and become scattered. They have a Presbyterian and an Adventist church; the men gain a livelihood by employment as farm-hands, baymen, berrypickers, etc., and the women as laundresses. A few families make and sell baskets and a sort of brush made of oak splints; there is almost no agriculture. They have lost all their old customs, and but few words of their native language survive even in the memory of the oldest people, although it was in more or less general use 60 or 70 years ago.
For Further Study
The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Shinnecock as both an ethnological study, and as a people. Consult:
- Harrington in Jour. Am. Folk-lore, XVI, 37-39, 1903
- Harrington in So. Workman, XXXII, no. 6, 1903.