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Old 10-16-2005, 07:26 PM   #1
Wepunkwteme
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Angry A.I.I.Alert #32 - The Oneidas Fight for their Sovereignty

Pass this to everyone you know and to every
Yahoo, MSN & AOL group you belong to.
Please help the Oneidas regain their Sovereignty!
Below this article is the Letter I have written to Our
U.S.Representatives & Officials involved.
Will you help?





Sherrill ruling's effects debated
Sunday, October 16, 2005
By Glenn Coin
Staff writer
Before March 29, federal courts had ruled that Oneida Indian Nation land was sovereign and beyond the reach of local laws.

But when the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out previous court rulings and voided the nation's sovereignty over its land, everything changed.

In the six months since the Supreme Court ruled the nation must pay taxes to the city of Sherrill, the Oneida nation has for the first time:

Paid more than $1.5 million toward its tax bills.

Allowed county health inspectors into Turning Stone Resort and Casino kitchens.

Paid a fine to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Challenged local property tax assessments that the nation had previously ignored.

Asked the federal government to take all Oneida nation land into trust.

"You have a gradual surrender of the claim to sovereignty that the Oneida nation has exerted for years," said Leon Koziol, a Utica lawyer who worked for Upstate Citizens for Equality, which opposes nation sovereignty. "The Sherrill decision essentially sent a message to (Oneida nation leader) Ray Halbritter that his power is very much limited."

But other nation critics say little has actually changed. They say the nation's actions in the past few months amount to little more than a ploy to get the land put into trust. Trust land lies beyond the reach of local taxes and laws a status similar to the sovereignty the nation claimed in the past.

The nation applied for trust land status just a week after the Supreme Court ruling.

"They're buttering up these local officials, saying how cooperative (the Oneidas) are, only to

turn around and sucker-punch these officials through the . . . trust process," said David Vickers, president of UCE.

Vickers and Madison County Attorney John Campanie noted that the nation has been careful not to call the payments they've been making since the decision "taxes."

"They're doing what they can to distinguish the payments they're making so they don't admit they're paying taxes," Campanie said.

Oneida nation spokesman Mark Emery said the Supreme Court suggested the nation apply to put its land into trust.

"The Oneida nation is just following the road map laid out by the Supreme Court," Emery said. "Once that land goes into trust, everything goes back the way it was."

The way it was before March 29 was this: The Oneida nation, flush with casino profits of up to 30 percent a year, had bought up more than 17,000 acres in Madison County. The nation declared the land sovereign, did not pay sales or property taxes and refused to allow county health inspectors inside the resort or its SavOn gas station chain.

Sherrill tried to foreclose, and the nation filed suit in federal court. The nation won the first two rounds but lost 8-1 at the Supreme Court. The court said the Oneidas had waited too long to claim governmental power over the land, and that allowing the nation to exert that power now over a "checkerboard" of land would lead to chaos.

The Sherrill case came to an end earlier this month, when the nation and the city announced an agreement. The five-year agreement calls for the nation to answer the city's tax bills with payments in "amounts that equal or exceed the amounts shown on the bills." The nation also agrees to allow city codes inspectors onto nation property.

The Supreme Court decision has also had repercussions across New York. Courts that previously sided with the Oneidas have now issued two rulings against the Cayuga Indians. Both rulings relied heavily on the Supreme Court's decision in Sherrill:

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the Cayuga Indian land claim, ruling the Cayugas had waited too long. Lawyers for Madison and Oneida counties say that could mean the end of the Oneidas' 250,000-acre land claim.

U.S. District Judge David Hurd paved the way for the village of Union Springs to shut down the Cayugas' electronic bingo hall.

Those two decisions may come full circle to Madison and Oneida counties. Madison County is awaiting a decision on its attempts to foreclose on nation land, and Hurd is hearing that case.

Campanie said the rulings by Hurd and the 2nd Circuit bode well for the counties, but the Oneida nation continues to challenge the decisions from the Supreme Court down.

"It looks much, much better for us today after those decisions," Campanie said. "The long struggle we have been engaged in is paying benefits, but we still have significant difficulties and we're trying to work through those."

The legal battles are far from over, agreed Robert Odawi Porter, director of the Center for Indigenous Law, Governance & Citizenship at the Syracuse University law school. Even if the courts dismiss the Indian land claims because of the Sherrill decision, the tribes are likely to file again using new theories of law, he said.

"It's not like this is going to be the end of it," Porter said. "Until Congress enacts some kind of final settlement legislation, the claims will continue. It might be said now is the best time for the state and local governments to favor settlement strategy because the odds seem to favor them for the moment."

2005 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.
Copyright 2005 syracuse.com. All Rights Reserved.







Hello,

I am asking for your help in a delicate situation

involving the Oneida Nation of American Indians in

New York. They are applying to put their land into trust

as a part of the Indian Land Consolidation Act.

Please do what ever you can to help the Oneida Nation

regain the the sovereignty they have held for so many years as

a federally recognized American Indian Nation.

Sincerely,

Thomas Greywolf Atkins

Chickahominy/Mattaponi/American Citizen



This letter has been sent to all

of the emaill addresses listed below.

You may feel free to replace my name

with your own and use my letter.

Just copy & paste the addresses into your

Bcc: section, then put your own email address

in the To: section.

Thank You for your help.



Government Officials:

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]



Media:

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Last edited by Wepunkwteme; 10-16-2005 at 07:28 PM..
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