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BIA proposes to take land into trust for Cayuga Nation
Monday, February 13, 2006

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is proposing to acquire 125 acres in trust for the Cayuga Nation of New York, according to a notice published in the Federal Register today.

The BIA, in cooperation with the tribe, is preparing an environmental impact statement on the "conveyance" of the land to the tribe. "The purpose of the proposed action is to create a tribal land base and to help meet the Nation's socio-economic needs," the notice states.

A public meeting will be held on the EIS on March 1, 2006, at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls. Written comments are being accepted until March 15.

The tribe purchased the land as part of its effort to reacquire its ancestral reservation. The tribe was acting under a 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving the Oneida Nation that said such land was automatically considered Indian Country.

But the U.S. Supreme Court reversed on appeal. The justices said the Oneida Nation had to go through the land-into-trust process before the land could be considered Indian Country.

The Oneida Nation and the Cayuga Nation have since filed land-into-trust applications. Both are facing opposition from local governments and officials, who say the land-into-trust process doesn't apply to Eastern tribes, an argument previously rejected by the 2nd Circuit in a case refused by the Supreme Court.

Get the Story:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Fee-to-Trust Conveyance of Property for the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, Cayuga and Seneca Counties, New York (Federal Register 2/12)

Related Story:
Counties oppose land trust request (The Finger Lake Times 2/11)

Cayuga Land Claim Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. New York (June 28, 2005)

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

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