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
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Appeals court won't stop Oneida Nation evictions
Monday, April 5, 2004

Four Indian families face removal from their homes on the Oneida Nation in New York after a federal appeals court on Friday refused to stop the tribe's eviction orders.

In a unanimous decision, three judges of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said they couldn't intervene in the dispute, which has pitted family members against each other. One of those being targeted for eviction is Maisie Shenandoah, the 72-year-old aunt of Ray Halbritter, the federally-recognized representative of the tribe.

The families claim they are being unfairly targeted because they have spoken out against Halbritter's policies, including a home beautification program at issue in the case. But in an eight-page ruling, the judges said they were restricted by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, which provides only limited federal court jurisdiction over internal tribal disputes.

"Even though the actions of the ruling members of the [Oneida] Nation may be partly inexcusable herein, we can only remedy those wrongs which invoke the jurisdiction of this court," wrote Judge Ellsworth A. Van Graafeiland.

The ruling came just a month after oral arguments were heard in Manhattan. At the time, dozens of tribal members, mostly elderly women, showed up at the courthouse, an incident that did not go unnoticed by Van Graafeiland.

Neither did Van Graafeiland entirely ignore the plight of the families. He quoted the writings of Alexander Hamilton, a framer of the U.S. Constitution, that warned of the danger of oppressive governments.

"If this danger exists in cases such as the instant one, and the presence of twenty or thirty Indian women engaged in prayer in the courtroom and adjoining hallway when this appeal was argued is some indication of its possible existence, Congress should consider giving this Court power to act," he wrote. Van Graafeiland, in a dissenting opinion in an unrelated case concerning treaty rights, previously questioned the Oneida Nation's continuous existence as a tribe.

The court's sentiments provided some hope to those facing eviction. But Diane Schenandoah, one of the named plaintiffs, said this weekend that the families would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, and would ask the 2nd Circuit to delay any evictions pending the appeal. Schenandoah said she and her three children would be rendered homeless without outside intervention.

The tribe has not moved to demolish any homes deemed unsafe for living. A tribal judge has delayed the eviction orders pending talks with the tribe, which has also offered alternative housing to the families.

Previously, the tribe did demolish the home of Danielle Patterson and held her in police custody for allegedly assaulting a police officer at the time of the demolition. In the appeal, the plaintiffs used Patterson's situation to argue that their personal freedoms are infringed by the actions of the tribal government.

The court, however, was not convinced and ruled that the loss of homes was "an economic restraint, rather than a restraint on liberty." The judges said the tribe's actions did not rise to actual banishment, a situation that is reviewable under the Indian Civil Rights Act in the 2nd Circuit.

The Oneida Nation operates a financially successful casino and resort. According to published reports, the facility turns profits in the $70 million range annually.

Get the Decision:
Shenandoah v. Halbritter (April 2, 2004)

Earlier Court Ruling:
Shenandoah v. Halbritter (August 8, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Oneidas for Democracy - http://www.oneidasfordemocracy.org
Oneida Nation - http://www.oneida-nation.net

Related Stories:
Appeals court hears Oneida Nation eviction case (03/03)
Oneida Nation families decline offer from tribe (11/20)
Oneida Nation evictions highlight rift within tribe (10/29)
Oneida Nation judge delays eviction of families (10/28)
Oneida Nation families await answer on eviction (10/27)
Eviction of Oneida Nation families delayed (10/24)
Oneida families fight eviction from homes (08/13)
Judge won't halt Oneida Nation evictions (8/11)
Oneida families lose homes waiting on court (8/1)
Oneida Nation issues eviction orders against families (7/30)
Oneida Nation sends inspector to homes (06/12)
Oneida Nation members compare tribe to Hitler (05/13)
Oneida Nation residents fear destruction of homes (5/9)
Demolition of Oneida woman's home turned into film (5/8)
Oneida woman's home demolished (10/23)
Oneida woman's home will be demolished (10/22)
Oneida woman won't appear before court (09/24)
Accusers of Oneida official won't testify (8/9)
Oneida official accused of harassment (7/17)
Film showing at school canceled (4/17)
Oneida Nation offers home to member (12/19)
Video clears up little in Oneida dispute (12/10)
Police video documents Oneida scuffle (12/7)
Oneida Nation disputes homes (11/20)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

'Ominous shadow' of President Trump looms over annual meeting of tribal leaders
Senate narrowly approves budget resolution without taking up pro-tribal provisions
Native Sun News Today: Tribes decry court ruling favoring Dakota Access Pipeline
Ivan Star Comes Out: Only dictators demand for their citizens to 'respect the flag'
Decision day for National Congress of American Indians with leadership changes
House subcommittee takes up controversial American Indian Empowerment Act
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on public safety measures
Arne Vainio: I wanted you to know you are loved and that I am bringing you home
Albert Bender: Native community celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day in Nashville
Native Sun News Today: Student speaks out about racism in South Dakota school
James Giago Davies: School fumbles historic opportunity after incident of racism
Tribes open their doors in response to devastating wildfires in northern California
National Congress of American Indians looks ahead to Tara Sweeney confirmation
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs sign agreement for Cobell buy-back program
Alaska Native executive Tara Sweeney named to top Bureau of Indian Affairs job
Tribes slam Trump administration for adding hurdles to land-into-trust process
Native Sun News Today: Native Americans are over-represented in county's jail
Tim Giago: Clones in Congress won't stand up to the Clown in the White House
Mark Trahant: Exploring the 'business' of news in Indian Country these days
Native Sun News Today: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate debuts new grocery store
Bears Ears remains in limbo as Republicans leave tribes out of monument bill
Mark Trahant: Trump brings more chaos to health coverage for tribal citizens
YES! Magazine: Tribal hospital in Alaska brings traditional foods to patients
Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders absent at border town liquor summit
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Teams continue to denigrate Indian people
Secretary Zinke requires special flag to be flown when he's in Interior building
Lawsuit seeks damages for death of girl at Bureau of Indian Education school
President of Northern Cheyenne Tribe remains in office after disputed removal
Republican candidate questions mural for depicting Indian people as too 'dark'
Bureau of Indian Affairs supports name change for 'Negro Bill Canyon' in Utah
Aroostook Band of Micmacs backs ballot referendum for new casino in Maine
Gun Lake Tribe secures strong local support in casino case except for one town
Second federal appeals court chimes in with decision favoring tribal homelands
Harold Frazier: Another incident of racism targets Native youth in South Dakota
Native American Voting Rights Coalition convenes second hearing in Wisconsin
Yurok Tribe welcomes introduction of bill to add important lands to reservation
YES! Magazine: Native family uses energy proceeds to benefit Indian Country
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe refutes rumors of Black Hills 'sale'
James Giago Davies: A best friend sticks with us even at the very end of life
Cronkite News: Republicans quickly move bill to limit new national monuments
Raymond Hitchcock: Sorry but tribal casinos aren't linked to increases in crime
Osage Nation prepared to fight state over water rights on historic reservation
Eastern Cherokee council complete after second round of voting for one seat
Iowa Tribe announces 'Monsterous' deal linked to long-delayed poker website
Squaxin Island Tribe holds grand opening for remodeled hotel tower at casino
Judge deals tribes major setback with decision in Dakota Access Pipeline case
YES! Magazine: Winnemem Wintu Tribe struggles to bring salmon back home
Native Sun News Today: Rapid City turns out for Native American Day parade
Ivan Star Comes Out: Our teachers shouldn't be doing the jobs of the parents
Non-Indian parents file lawsuit to halt transfer of child custody cases to tribes
County in Oregon holds public hearing on name of 'Dead Indian Memorial Road'
Swinomish Tribe set to open substance abuse treatment center in Washington
All-Native band Warpath from California mixes heavy metal with tribal elements
Ramapough Lunaape Nation defends right to host prayer camp in New Jersey
Chehalis Tribe working with local authorities on fatal shooting outside casino
>>> 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.