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Sovereignty and Economic Self-Determination (Brief History cont.)

Historically, the Unkechaug Nation has interacted with governmental representatives from Spain, the Netherlands, England, France, Canada, and the United States. These relations are best characterized as government to government and were most often influenced by political and commer cial considerations. The Unkechaug Nation also maintains active intertribal relations which can be characterized as continuous, long standing, and Nation to Nation. The Unkechaug Nation began interacting with the tribal nations of both New England and New York long before the arrival of Europeans. The nature of the Unkechaug's relationships with the New England and New York tribes was predominantly commercial and political, but did include some social and cultural activities. Prior to 1776, the Unkechaug Nation had established a political relationship with the Colony of New York which is continued today with the State of New York. The Unkechaug Nation maintains sovereign status with it's own constitutional government based on traditional systems. The Nation is governed by a Chief and a Council of 6 Members.
From time immemorial the Unkechaug have associated with related indigenous entities of Long Island and participated in a complex network of relationships based predominantly on marriage and kinship systems rather than strict tribal affiliation. As such, numerous villages and aggregations of indigenous peoples have been known to each other through out New York; however, each had it's own name even though they were closely related culturally, linguistically, politically, and socially. The indigenous people of Long Island were not culturally driven to a migratory lifestyle because of the development of these interrelated social, economic, and shared political systems. Shared farming, whaling, hunting, fishing, harvesting, and food gathering technologies, as well as common diet and similar housing styles, created a regular demand for services and product manufacturing. The Long Island Indians had a well developed economy and strong trading relationships for bartering goods and services within an intertribal network.

Other tribal Nations viewed the Unkechaug and eastern Long Island Indians as desirable trading partners because of their access to the ocean and shells, their skill in producing wampum. The Unkechaug were effective in structuring intertribal trade and using their resources to strike agreements with larger and more powerful tribes."The Unkechaug is committed to supporting and expanding current economic efforts at Poospatuck so that tribal enterprises can be developed and individual entrepreneurial efforts can be encouraged. The Unkechaug firmly believe that the historical record of economic success, the beneficial geographic location factors, and the traditionally formed network of kinship relations can once again make the Nation a desirable economic partner in a number of ventures. Economic self-determination has been one of our traditional roads to self-sufficiency."


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