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House holds hearing on New York tribal land claims
Friday, July 15, 2005

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The House Resources Committee held an oversight hearing on Thursday on New York tribal land claims.

Rep. Richard Pombo (R-California), the chairman of the committee, said Congress needs to know what is being proposed to settle the land claims because Congress will be the ultimate arbiter. Other members questioned whether settling the claims for casinos is a wise move.

Mike Olsen, the acting principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, testified that the federal government continues to stand by the land claims. He said the Bush administration, however, will not contribute monetarily to any settlement due to budget constraints.

A slate of tribal leaders testified about their individual claims. They were: Oneida Nation of New York Representative Ray Halbritter, St. Regis Mohawk Chief Jim Ransom, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Chairperson Cristina Danforth, Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma Chief LeRoy Howard and Stockbridge Munsee Community President Robert Chicks. They said their claims remain valid and that settlement is needed.

The final panel was Paul W. Miller, the chairman of the Committee on Native American Affairs and Gaming for the New York State Association of Counties. He agreed settlement was necessary but said local governance should not be interrupted in light of the recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

New York Gov. George Pataki (R) did not testify in person but submitted a written statement.

Get the Story:
N.Y.'s Indian land deals raise ire (The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 7/15)
State warned to settle claims (The Albany Times-Union 7/15)
Land claim disputes are far from resolved, House panel says (The Syracuse Post-Standard 7/15)
U.S. House determined to settle N.Y. land claims (Journal Register News Service 7/15)
House may bar new casinos (The Utica Observer-Dispatch 7/15)
House chairman warns New York casino deals may not pass muster (AP 7/14)
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Cayuga Nation Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. New York (June 28, 2005)

Oneida Nation Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Souter] | Dissent [Stevens]

Related Stories:
House and Senate hearings, briefing on health care (7/14)
House hearing on New York tribal land claims (7/13)
Pombo schedules New York land claims hearing (7/11)
Land claim deal for Wisconsin tribes in the works (7/8)
Judge halts foreclosure against Oneida Nation (7/6)
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