Warriors of the Sunrise vs. New York State

The leaves have mostly fallen in the pitch pine and oak forest that stretches along the Sunrise Highway in Hampton Bays, New York, where four Shinnecock women—Jennifer Cuffee-Wilson, Tela Troge, Margo Thunderbird and Becky Hill-Genia, the Warriors of the Sunrise of the Shinnecock Nation—are taking a stand on the tribe’s aboriginal territory. They are protesting legal maneuverings by state and local governments they say inhibit their economic prospects.

Acorns and twigs crunch underfoot as the near constant whoosh of fast cars is tempered by whistling sparrows, warblers and common yellowthroats.

“Six hundred years ago we’d be over here now anyway,” says Margo Thunderbird, one of the camp’s founders. “We’d be hunting, fishing, drying hides among the trees. We’re right where we’re supposed to be, when we’re supposed to be.”

Read the story at Capital and Main