Feds give preliminary OK to Shinnecock recognition

(AP) - The federal government has givenpreliminary approval to formally recognize the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

The decision late Tuesday is seen as a key step toward theShinnecock Indians eventually opening a casino.

Their leaders first tried to open a casino on tribal land inSouthampton in 2003. They were told they first need the Bureau ofIndian Affairs to formally recognize the Shinnecock as a tribebefore any talk about a casino could begin.

The preliminary approval sets off a series of hearings and areview that could bring final recognition by next spring.

Shinnecock leaders say they're willing to negotiate anappropriate site for a casino, either on Long Island or in theCatskills upstate. They did not immediately comment on the ruling.

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