Statement from Assemblyman Fred Thiele Regarding Governor Hochul’s Veto Denying Montaukett Indian Nation Long-Awaited Recognition

Today, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) issued the following statement in response to Governor Hochul’s veto of (A.6919/ S.6721), which aimed to reinstate state recognition and acknowledgement of the Montaukett Indian Nation. The Montaukett Indian Nation has a deep, culturally rich history on the East End of Long Island. The Nation was recognized by the State of New York until it was improperly removed by a 1910 State Supreme Court decision, Pharaoh v. Benson.

Assemblyman Thiele said, “An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it. This week, Governor Hochul refused to correct previous errors by the New York State government regarding the Montauketts and made a regrettable mistake by vetoing the Montaukett legislation. Incredibly, she cited the long-discredited Benson case in justifying her veto. This case, which declared the Montauketts to be extinct in 1910, is one of the most racist decisions in the history of New York jurisprudence. Instead of rejecting the noxious rationale of Benson, her veto reaffirmed it. I am ashamed of our state government. However, it only serves as motivation for me to rededicate my efforts to ensure the Montauketts receive the justice they so much deserve.”