By John A. Strong
Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title 2012
Few people may realize that Long Island is still home to American Indians, the region’s original in habitants. One of the oldest reservations in the United States- the Poospatuck Reservation- is located in Suffolk County, the densely populated eastern extreme of the greater New York area. The Unkechaug Indians, known also by the name of their reservation, are recognized by the State of New York but not by the federal government. This narrative account-written by a noted authority on the Algonquin peoples of Long Island-is the first comprehensive history of the Unkechaug Indians.
Drawing on archaeological and documentary sources, John A. Strong traces the story of the Unkechaugs from their ancestral past, predating the arrival of Europeans, to the present day. Although granted a large reservation in perpetuity, the Unkechaugs were, like many Indians tribes, the victims of broken promises, and their landholdings diminished from several thousand acres to fifty-five. Despite their losses, the Unkechaugs have persisted in maintaining their cultural traditions and autonomy by taking measures to boost their economy, preserve their language, strengthen their communal bonds, and defend themselves against legal challenges.
Strong’s account, which includes extensive testimony from tribal members themselves, brings the Unkechaugs out of the shadows of history and establishes a permanent record their struggle to survive as a distinct community.
“This book is the most comprehensive analysis to date of Unkechaug history. John Strong has provided vast evidence to dispel misrepresentations, distortions, and intentional falsehoods concerning the Unkechaug. He Makes the case for why we are here and why we never left.”
—Chief Harry B. Wallace, Unkechaug Nation.
John A. Strong is Professor Emeritus of History and American Studies at Long Island University. He is the of numerous publications, Including The Montaukett Indians of Easter Long Island, Algonquian Peoples of Long Island from Earliest Times to 1700, and “We Are Still Here!”: The Algonquian Peoples of Long Island Today.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2011