The Metoac had the misfortune to occupy Long Island which was regarded as the best land in the Northeast. Each summer from the waters of Long Island Sound, the Metoac harvested clam shells which, during the winter,
were painstakingly fashioned into small beads they called "wampompeag" - shortened later by the English into the more familiar form "wampum." The population of all of the Metoac tribes in 1600 was about 10,000, but the combined effects of warfare and epidemics left the Metoac at less than 500 by 1659. Today, there are two reservations on Long Island: the Shinnecock with nearly 400 residents; and the 200 Unkechaug at the Poospatock Reserve. Besides those on the reservations, there are more than 1,400 Metoac living in the immediate area. Although state recognition of the Shinnecock and Unkechaug dates from the colonial period, because they have never signed treaties with the United States , neither tribe is federally recognized.