indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Cayuga land claim heads towards Supreme Court
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Bush administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the Cayuga land claim in hopes of protecting more tribes from seeing their cases dismissed.

In a petition filed earlier this month, the Department of Justice called on the justices to reaffirm the right of tribes to seek redress for stolen lands. Government lawyers said cases across the country could be thrown out of court unless the high court revives the claim filed by the Cayuga Nation of New York and the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma.

"In the Trade and Intercourse Acts and the Treaty of Canandaigua, the United States committed the nation to protecting the interests of the Cayugas and other New York Indian Nations in their lands," the brief stated. "This court should ensure that the United States is able to honor that commitment by affording some measure of recompense for New York's clear violation of that undertaking."

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision last June, held that the Cayuga tribes waited too long to file their lawsuit. The ruling was based on an expansive interpretation of the Supreme Court's March 30, 2005, opinion in Sherrill v. Oneida Nation, another New York case.

By an 8-1 vote in Sherrill, the justices ruled that the Oneida Nation has to go through the land-into-trust process before asserting sovereign rights on land covered by the Treaty of Canandaigua. The court said it would be too "disruptive" to remove the land from local and state jurisdiction without analyzing the impact on the community.

Although the high court was careful to note that its ruling didn't "disturb" the Oneida Nation's right to seek remedy for stolen lands, the 2nd Circuit nonetheless said Sherrill "dramatically altered the legal landscape" of tribal land claims. Government lawyers argue that such an interpretation needs to be corrected in order to protect more tribes from suffering the same fate as the Cayugas.

"The decision below deprives the Cayugas and similarly-situated tribes of any remedy for the state's unlawful acquisition of their lands and renders superfluous the protracted litigation that was the natural and foreseeable consequence of this court's earlier ruling, the brief stated, referring to the Supreme Court's 1985 decision that allowed the Oneida claim to be pursued.

Several tribes indeed face defeat if other courts take the same position as the 2nd Circuit. In the 3rd Circuit, a federal judge dismissed the Delaware Nation of Oklahoma's bid to reclaim rights in Pennsylvania, the tribe's ancestral home. Land claims pending in Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and Michigan could also be thrown out of court.

For that reason, the Cayuga claim is drawing interest as it heads towards the Supreme Court. The National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund, through their joint Tribal Supreme Court Project, are closely monitoring the case and plan to take part in it.

"I think a lot of tribes have an interest in this case," John Dossett, NCAI's general counsel, said last November. "The legal doctrine of 'it's been a long time' is not a good legal doctrine for tribes."

The Cayuga tribes were awarded $247 million for 64,000 acres stolen from by the state of New York, The 2nd Circuit, despite throwing out the award, acknowledged that the land was taken without federal approval in violation of federal law.

The tribes, like the Oneida Nation, have repurchased land covered by the Treaty of Canandaigua but they have since agreed to pay property taxes to local counties rather than risk foreclosure. The Cayuga Nation also has filed an application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to have its properties taken into trust.

The tribes filed their petition earlier this month along with the Department of Justice one. A response from the New York defendants is due March 8, after which the court will determine whether to take the case.

Participating in the discussions will be new Chief Justice John G. Roberts and new associate Justice Samuel A. Alito. Roberts, who was confirmed last September, has already heard and decided one Indian law case, a state tax dispute that went against the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas.

Roberts has had significant experience in Indian law, having argued two major cases before the Supreme Court. Alito was a judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which hasn't heard any Indian law cases due to the lack of federally recognized tribes in the region. The Delaware claim is the first such case before the court.

Cayuga Land Claim Briefs:
DOJ Petition | DOJ Appendix Volume 1 | DOJ Appendix Volume 2 | Cayuga Petition

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

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

Relevant Links:
NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project - http://doc.narf.org/sc/index.html

Related Stories:
BIA proposes to take land into trust for Cayuga Nation (2/13)
Cayuga Nation pays property taxes in two counties (2/10)
Supreme Court asked to revive Cayuga land claim (2/8)
DOJ asks Supreme Court to hear Cayuga land claim (01/18)
Cayuga Nation not waiting for answer on trust lands (12/07)
Schumer opposes Cayuga Nation land-into-trust (11/04)
Judge extends Sherrill decision to Cayuga Nation (10/06)
Cayuga Nation shuts down Class II gaming facility (10/5)
Cason: Cayuga Nation subject to Sherrill decision (9/29)
Cayuga tribes to challenge land claim decision (7/5)
New York GOP says tribes 'sit around the campfire' (7/1)
Appeals court kills Cayuga land claim after 25 years (6/29)
County opposes Cayuga Nation on land-into-trust (05/25)
Cayuga Nation, county reach deal on inspections (05/12)
Column: Tribes just can't come and take 'our' land (05/11)
Cayuga Nation land case back before federal judge (05/05)
County gets order to inspect tribe's gas station (04/29)
Supreme Court ruling impacts New York land claims (4/19)
Cayuga Nation seeks BIA protection for lands (4/15)
Pataki, county blast Oneida Nation's trust land bid (4/14)
County to challenge Cayuga Nation sovereignty (4/14)
Oneida Nation seeks trust land in wake of ruling (4/14)
Cayuga tribes confident on land claim appeal (4/12)
Supreme Court decision derails Pataki settlements (4/11)
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe to pay taxes on acquired land (4/8)
Supreme Court called less sympathetic to Indians (4/7)
Fallout from Supreme Court ruling on Oneida Nation (4/6)
BIA official calls high court ruling 'quite depressing' (03/31)
Major defeat for Oneida Nation in Supreme Court case (3/30)
Oklahoma tribe loses bid for out-of-state land (12/03)
Cayuga Nation land rights upheld by federal judge (4/26)
Cayuga Nation's plans for land worry some in village (04/07)
Report: Seneca-Cayuga Tribe has bigger plans in store (04/06)
Tribes ask court for $1.7B and title to lost land (04/01)
Federal appeals court to hear Cayuga land claim (3/31)
NIGC accused of 'ducking' casino land issue in N.Y. (03/23)
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe seeks deal to end land claim (03/19)
Judge in N.Y. hears Seneca-Cayuga land dispute (03/12)
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe could fund arts center in N.Y. (2/26)
Arguments set for appeal of Cayuga land claim (2/25)
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe makes offer to Pataki (11/19)
Court orders Cayuga Nation to stop renovations (10/23)
Cayuga Nation proposes land claim, tax settlement (10/21)
Cayuga Nation buys another gas station (10/06)
Bill would terminate out-of-state sovereign rights (09/26)
Appeals expected in Seneca-Cayuga Tribe's land case (09/10)
Judge to decide fate of Seneca-Cayuga Tribe's land (9/9)
Cayuga tribes slowly reclaiming ancestral territory (09/02)
Okla. tribe says court decision bolsters case (07/24)
Cayuga Nation welcomes Indian Country decision (07/23)
Oneida Nation wins treaty lands case (7/22)

Copyright 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribal college geologist tackles uranium mine (1/30)
James Giago Davies: Let's hurry up and hate the Muslim people (1/30)
Luis Alejo: Apologize to the Chumash Tribe for 'hurtful' remarks (1/30)
Mark Anthony Rolo: Declaration of war against Keystone Pipeline (1/30)
Senate passes bill to approve controversial Keystone XL Pipeline (1/30)
DOI signs land buy-back cooperative agreements with two tribes (1/30)
Company claims harassment after racial incident at hockey game (1/30)
Quapaw Tribe interested in cultivating marijuana for medical uses (1/30)
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes declare war on methamphetamine (1/30)
Lawmakers introduce bill to allow Miami Nation to revoke charter (1/30)
Chairman of Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe resigns after seven years (1/30)
Another guilty conviction and indictment for Chippewa Cree Tribe (1/30)
Warm Springs Tribes play host to unmanned drone test grounds (1/30)
Eastern Cherokees still working to improve dangerous highway (1/30)
Key lawmakers remain opposed to Yucca Mountain nuclear site (1/30)
Kootenai Tribe: The truth about the regulation of Indian gaming (1/30)
Mike Hoeft: Bingo games brought Oneida Nation together again (1/30)
Menominee Nation won't give up on off-reservation gaming plan (1/30)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community approves casino market study (1/30)
Seminole Tribe wins preliminary approval for New Jersey gaming (1/30)
Native Sun News: Alcohol a common factor in Rapid City murders (1/29)
Ivan Star: Ignoring alcoholism leads to destruction of the Lakota (1/29)
John Barrasso: Empowering Indian Country in the GOP Congress (1/29)
Criminal charges possible over mistreatment of Indian students (1/29)
Seneca Nation doesn't foresee taking action on legal marijuana (1/29)
Elderly member of Colville Tribes seriously injured in hit and run (1/29)
Fifteen charged over theft of Yakama Nation scholarship money (1/29)
Judge orders self-proclaimed 'shaman' back to custody in Texas (1/29)
Nevada City Rancheria objects to leasing of land to another tribe (1/29)
Mississippi Choctaws to hold grand opening for new $55M hospital (1/29)
Opinion: Celebrate the Native origin of the Seattle Seahawks logo (1/29)
First Nations Experience to grow with $6M from San Manuel Band (1/29)
Governor won't rethink Menominee Nation off-reservation casino (1/29)
Cayuga Nation back in court to defend Class II gaming operation (1/29)
Mohegan Tribe reports increase in revenue at gaming enterprise (1/29)
Gaming machines at non-Indian tracks stir controversy in Idaho (1/29)
Native Sun News: Tribes ask Obama to deny Keystone XL permit (1/28)
Native Sun News: Native youth take stand against Keystone bid (1/28)
Tara Houska: Respect treaties and reject Keystone XL Pipeline (1/28)
Mark Trahant: Obama administration steps up for environment (1/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds first meeting & hearing (1/28)
House committee won't restore Indian and Alaska Native panel (1/28)
Opinion: Affordable Care Act offers behavorial health services (1/28)
Sami Jo Difuntorum: Support needed for Indian housing update (1/28)
Albert Bender: Stop glorification of Indian killer Andrew Jackson (1/28)
Amanda Blackhorse: Navajo leader defends racist NFL mascot (1/28)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Our kids should be able to go anywhere (1/28)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.