indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
First Lady Michelle Obama shares story of hope with Indian school (5/26)
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Santa Fe Indian School (5/26)
Gary Davis of NCAIED joins Small Business Administration council (5/26)
Arne Vainio: A mother's gift carried me through many life journeys (5/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (5/26)
Lakota Country Times: Education Secretary hears from Pine Ridge (5/26)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (5/26)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (5/26)
Gyasi Ross: Drug epidemic sweeping through Native communities (5/26)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (5/26)
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (5/26)
Auction house in France won't stop sale of sacred tribal property (5/26)
United Keetoowah Band installs new leader after impeachment (5/26)
Kewa Pueblo builds new community around historic trading post (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee elder translates 'Charlotte's Web' into Tsalagi (5/26)
Puyallup Tribe works to keep language alive for new generations (5/26)
Iowa Tribe offers free play on poker website ahead of full launch (5/26)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gaming options closer to home (5/26)
Kaw Nation receives national award for tribal gaming initiatives (5/26)
Indian Health Service reform efforts gaining steam on Capitol Hill (5/25)
Indian Health Service announces more hires at troubled hospital (5/25)
Keepseagle attorneys open application process for $38M in grants (5/25)
Three tribes enter cooperative agreements for buy-back program (5/25)
New leader selected for HUD's Office of Native American Programs (5/25)
Indian relay racers gear up for event hosted by Muckleshoot Tribe (5/25)
Cronkite News: Tribes seek return of property up for sale in France (5/25)
Native Sun News: Anti-suicide effort incorporates tribal traditions (5/25)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth showcase film projects (5/25)
Mark Trahant: Native vote victory for Tawna Sanchez in Oregon (5/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Lakota people come together in times of need (5/25)
Editorial: Tribes must come up with plan for return of Black Hills (5/25)
John McCoy: Disenrollment and blood quantum are not our way (5/25)
Adrian Jawort: Addressing race relations and healing in Montana (5/25)
Fort Peck Tribes oppose new directive on transgender students (5/25)
Leader of United Keetoowah Band ousted through impeachment (5/25)
Agua Caliente Band launches software development company (5/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair platform committee for GOP convention (5/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes discussions with opponent over casino (5/25)
Little Traverse Bay Bands open doors to Class II gaming facility (5/25)
Tuolumne Band celebrates 15th birthday with casino expansion (5/25)
Former Winnebago Tribe casino employee denies theft charge (5/25)
Proposed rule brings LGBT equality to tribal housing programs (5/24)
Chairman of Quapaw Tribe endorses Democrat Hillary Clinton (5/24)
Appropriations bill blocks new federal recognition regulation (5/24)
Native American Children's Safety Act clears final Hill hurdle (5/24)
9th Circuit won't rehear Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (5/24)
Lakota Country Times: Army promises return of tribal children (5/24)
Native Sun News: New business sprouts up at Wounded Knee (5/24)
Mark Trahant: Tulalip citizen lands role in Democratic platform (5/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Pine Ridge unites for search of missing men (5/24)
Men who went missing found dead on Pine Ridge Reservation (5/24)
Billy Mills: Flawed poll can't justify use of team's racist mascot (5/24)
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.