The 1,066 member strong Shinnecock Indian Nation, who reside in Long Island near Southampton, are very close to formal government recognition, after fighting for the recognition over the past 30 years.
The Shinnecock’s want federal recognition in part so they can open a casino somewhere in Long Island or in the New York metro area. They’ve enlisted PR help in their battle. The New York Times reports:
…the tribe hired Michael McKeon, Gov. George E. Pataki’s former communications director, and Alan Wheat, a former Missouri congressman, as well as Fleishman-Hillard, a Washington public relations firm.
Current New York Governor David Paterson supports the initiative.