The mission of the Shinnecock Cultural Resources Department is to identify, preserve, protect and maintain our cultural resources- our heritage, our environment, our traditions.
Our goal is to instill knowledge, appreciation and pride of tribal heritage through intergenerational teaching of our values, history, ceremonies, traditions, and language.
Elders, tradition bearers and tribal educators work to develop written and online curriculum. We provide reference resources, workshops, displays and articles for learning about our historic and contemporary life, our language and environment. Workshops are conducted and supplies and instruction are given for regalia making, crafts, native singing and dance. This work is done through individual, interdepartmental and/or program collaborations. Our objectives include having a cultural immersion program, teaching tradition skills and conducting activities based on the seasons. We are also developing an ethnobotany project to identify plants within our territories, save seeds, and eradicate invasive plants with a long-range goal to create a book and herbarium.
Our culture intersects with all aspects of life, thus collaborative work has been done with the Shinnecock Elders Program, Environmental Department, Health and Wellness Department, Community Health Workers Program, Indian Education Program, Wuneechanunk Shinnecock Preschool, Girl Scouts, Youth Clubhouse, Youth Council and the Shinnecock Presbyterian Church. We have assisted with the Shinnecock Powwow, Circassian Remembrances, Mid-Winter Socials, Ohke Kesuk (Earth Day) and Nipi Kesuk (Water Day) celebrations that are hosted by the Environmental Department, and Nunnowa (Shinnecock Thanksgiving).
Educational programming, attending conferences, and collaborations have been done with other tribes, organizations and non-tribal institutions such as schools, universities and museums. Working with and teaching others helps to undue stereotypes and spread knowledge.
Historical oppression, prejudice, the fast pace of modern society along with theft and destruction of our land and sacred places have been factors that tried to strip us of who we are. It is vitally important that we learn from one another, that we learn our connection to our lands and water, to our ancestors, our families and to the Creator. Reclaiming and speaking, praying and singing in our language helps us with these connections. We must learn of our past, of our values, our strengths and traditions and pass these on to future generations. We must learn to how to live off the land and waters with respect for every being, how to be nourished from what surrounds us, how to be healed from the medicines we were gifted with. We can utilize what we are taught from both academic and traditional teachings to live a sustainable life, for we live in a traditional and modern society. The more we learn, the more we can teach our children and grandchildren.
To gain knowledge and wisdom leads to healing and respect. Through learning and living our culture we can heal from historic and present-day trauma; we can grow spiritually, mentally and physically. Through our culture we will continue to be strong, resilient and humble.