The Shinnecock Nation Tribal Trustees took exception to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's remarks this week that it would be "unrealistic" to open talks now regarding an Indian casino on Long Island.
In a statement Tuesday, the Trustees say the Shinnecocks "are a tribal nation, not a competitor or a gaming corporation with no community ties, seeking only to enrich itself," and they should not have to wait to get a seat at the table.
As reported in Newsday Monday, Cuomo said talks should wait until after a public referendum is held on allowing for seven new casinos to be built across the state — expected no sooner than fall 2013. He reportedly said he wants to have a competition for the seven best casino proposals.
The Trustees retorted, "What is 'unrealistic' is that we should have to wait two years for the possibility of the legalization of commercial gaming before a meeting of substance occurs with the governor to discuss Indian gaming, while commercial gaming corporations enjoy free access to present their gaming visions."
The Shinnecock tribe, based on a reservation in Southampton, received federal recognition in 2010.
"It is the inherent right of the to pursue self-sufficiency by engaging in gaming under the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act," the Trustees' statement read. "It is quite evident that political leaders across the Island support our efforts."