“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with the Matinecock Native Americans and the Douglaston-Little Neck communities,” said Councilman Paul Vallone. “The Matinecock Native Americans have stood and watched over these lands long before the earliest settlers over 375 years ago.
“Today we honor their legacy as a noble and harmonious people who remain our neighbors and descendants for a long and proud history,” he added.
The tribe, a branch of the Algonquin Nation who used to inhabit the northwestern sections of Queens, was well represented at the street naming with members of the Baron and Waters families, who wanted everyone to know their history is still being written.
“When we talk about history here, it is a living history,” said Chief Harry Wallace of Unkechaug.
Local historian Jason D. Antos shared some of the past history of the tribe, who held their final stand at the intersection that is now named in their honor.
“With this co-naming, future generations will be able learn who the Matinecock are, their importance to the origins of our beloved Queens, and the vital historical significance of this very spot on which we are gathered here today,” said Antos.
“For it was here that the Matinecock had their final stand in what was known as ‘The Battle of Madnam’s Neck,’” he continued. “And now, more than three centuries later, this place will no longer serve only as a painful reminder of their downfall, but as an everlasting tribute to their legacy.”
While the ceremony focused on the longstanding legacy of the tribe and its roots in the Little Neck area, it was acknowledged that, from an American perspective, the legacy was not always treated with respect and recognition.
“This has been a struggle for the present day Matinecock to receive some level of recognition,” said Chief Osceola Townsend of Matinecock Nation.
Despite the adversity, which Paul DiBenedetto of the Bayside Historical Society mentioned included genocide by the American government, the tribe has lasted to share their legacy with the people of Little Neck.
“Throughout all the history, no matter who tried to do what, they remained,” Vallone said.