Editorial: Collaboration needed on Oneida land claim
"Leaders of both the Oneida Indian Nation and local governments have a rare opportunity in the wake of U.S. District Court Judge's Lawrence Kahn's recent land-claim ruling.

With land now off the table, it's time for a spirit of collaboration to replace the spirit of enmity that's existed for far too long in our region.

Kahn ruled that the Oneidas do not have the right to repossess through their land-claim lawsuit the thousands of acres they sold or were taken from them some 200 years ago. In short, it would be wrong to correct one injustice by creating another injustice, Kahn wisely ruled. So long-time residents of the land-claim area can rest easy. Their property and homes and businesses will not be taken from them.

Still outstanding is the Oneidas' claim to financial compensation for their losses. New York state might be on the hook for up to $500 million because of the improper way Oneida land transactions took place in the late 1700s and early 1800s. That's an outcome to be decided in the courts. The Nation has the right to press that claim, and the state has the right to defend taxpayers' interests by appealing Kahn's ruling to judges at a higher level.

But whatever the outcome, those individuals who would call themselves leaders must demonstrate what leadership is all about by building a sense of unity between the Nation and its neighbors that sadly hasn't existed for quite some time."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Nation, neighbors must heal (The Utica Observer-Dispatch 5/29)

Court Decision:
Oneida Nation v. New York (May 21, 2007)

Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
Oneida Nation of New York Conveyance of Lands Into Trust (November 2006)

Relevant Links:
Oneida Nation Trust - http://www.oneidanationtrust.com
Indian Nation Fee-to-Trust Land Acquisition Applications in New York State - http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/ogc/lands.html
Oneida Nation, New York - http://www.oneida-nation.net

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

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