Shinnecock community notes



. Greetings from Shinnecock.

As we open our hearts to giving and sharing this holiday season we have in mind to help make Shinnecock Elder Florence Crippen’s Christmas wish to complete her home on Shinnecock come true.

A member of the Shinnecock Tribe 
and a resident of Southampton Village, she grew up in the Hillcrest house her parents purchased in the 1930s. Upon her parents’ death, she took on the care of her two brothers, Frank and Lawrence Emmett Crippen, who both 
returned shell-shocked from World 
War II.

Frank died some time ago, and she lost her brother Lawrence on January 25, 2007 when their Hillcrest Avenue home went up in flames. The house was uninsured and prior to the tragedy, Miss Florence had put her life savings into building a modular home on Shinnecock. But a dispute with the manufacturer would leave the home unfinished and uninhabitable unless she could come up with thousands of dollars more.

After the fire, donations were collected in a Florence Crippen Fire Fund at the Chase Bank and those monies went toward rebuilding the house on Hillcrest, while her dream house remained in limbo.

But Miss Florence, now in her 80s, is one tough cookie; she has survived a heart attack, a near fatal car accident, a trans-tibial amputation and in November returned from an almost year-long stay in the hospital. Through it all, she has never complained. Her only wish now is to complete her dream home on Shinnecock.

Southampton firefighters Dean McNamara, Jason Poremba and Ted Duffy have given their permission to add their voices, with the members of the Crippen clan, to respectfully ask our neighboring communities for their prayers and financial support.

Monetary donations made at any Bank of America branch, to the account Phillip Brown IV, for the Florence Crippen Building Fund; or sent to c/o Phillip Brown IV, Florence Crippen Building Fund, Box 97, Southampton, NY 11968 would be greatly appreciated.

For more information, contact Dave Raynor at (516) 443-3477 or (631) 283-4685.

Progress on the house can be seen on the web at

The Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum and the Shinnecock Shellfish Hatchery & Environmental Center introduced its joint exhibition, “People of the Shore: The Maritime History of the Place of Shells,” at the museum’s annual Winter Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend.

The exhibit was presented on large screenboards with historical and present day photographs and literature depicting the distinctive and enduring connection between we Indians of Eastern Long Island and the surrounding sea, together with a display of artifacts and live demonstrations on Shinnecock maritime traditions such as wampum and other shell jewelry making.

The exhibit was set to run only through the weekend but we do hope for it to run again as it was quite engaging and very informative. Shinnecock, Unkechaug and other native vendors lined the walls of the museum offering their handmade art, crafts and jewelry for the Winter Festival.

The kids were entertained by holiday movies, crafts, scavenger hunts and Santa, of course. However, the museum staff found themselves in a bit of a pinch on Saturday morning, when they heard that our usual Shinnecock Santa was booked down the street at Stepping Stones Farmers Market where he was sharing cookies and hot cocoa with visiting children. At the last minute, staff had to conduct a scavenger hunt of their own to fill the void.

By all accounts, the food at the 
festival was the biggest hit. With choices like clam chowder, samp, 
succotash, blueberry slump, fry bread and oysters on the half shell and oyster stew as provided this year by the Shinnecock Shellfish Hatchery & Environmental Center—the cafeteria stayed filled with a rotating rainbow of friendly faces.

Thanks to the many cooks, vendors, event volunteers and a couple of last minute Santas, the festival proved to be a beautiful, collaborative effort.

The only disappointment was in the size of the crowd. Perhaps the word will get around and the next festival will pack ’em in.

Some of us can’t seem to avoid waiting until the last minute to put up our holiday decorations, so it’s a good thing we don’t have to go far to find a great selection of everything Christmas. Stepping Stones Farmers Market, at 46 Montauk Highway on the reservation, has a fine selection of 5-, 6- and 7-foot balsam firs and 7- and 8-foot Fraser firs, 12-, 16-, and 24-inch wreaths, and small, medium and large poinsettias.

In addition, it offers Native holiday greeting cards, made-to-order gift baskets, and homemade pies and fresh baked cookie and bread platters, in case we find ourselves in need of some last minute holiday treats.

Stepping Stones is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call (631) 283-3069 to place an order.

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