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
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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...
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:
Chairman of Quapaw Tribe endorses Democrat Hillary Clinton (5/24)
Native American Children's Safety Act clears last hurdle on Hill (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)
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)
Richard King: Mascot poll reflects pervasive anti-Indian racism (5/24)
Marco Alvarez: Voices of indigenous people usually go unheard (5/24)
Indian Health Service facility cited for treatment of 6-month-old (5/24)
Tribes meet to discuss sale of ancestors and property in France (5/24)
Dental group appears to relent on therapists in Indian Country (5/24)
Alaska Natives welcome removal of 'Eskimo' from federal laws (5/24)
Joba Chamberlain lands on disabled list after joining new team (5/24)
Coquille Tribe awaits environmental review for gaming project (5/24)
Seminole Tribe still going strong despite lack of new casino deal (5/24)
Long wait hints at tie in closely-watched tribal jurisdiction case (5/23)
Another Indian Health Service facility in Great Plains threatened (5/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules hearing on wildfires (5/23)
Supreme Court delays review of Seneca Nation land case again (5/23)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge school hosts meth awareness day (5/23)
Lakota Country Times: Native men still missing after two weeks (5/23)
Tim Giago: Some good old days really were the 'good old days' (5/23)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Jay Silverheels was more than 'Tonto' (5/23)
Delphine Red Shirt: It's our duty to teach the Lakota language (5/23)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: A vendetta in the death of Anna Mae (5/23)
Native Sun News: Rapid City group aims to address disparities (5/23)
Tara Houska: Mascots hurt Native youth despite results of poll (5/23)
Vincent Schilling: Mascot poll doesn't reflect true Indian voices (5/23)
Wenona Wolf: Native people are invisible in our own homeland (5/23)
Roger Birdbear: Obamacare can help address shortfalls at IHS (5/23)
Harold Monteau: Lessons from Canada in Native law and policy (5/23)
Steven Newcomb: Church edicts lead to centuries of domination (5/23)
Robert Jumper: Gaming leads Eastern Cherokees to bright future (5/23)
Naomi Schaefer Riley: Hold tribal leaders accountable for schools (5/23)
Benjamin Madley: Acknowledge the genocide of California tribes (5/23)
Jasmine Heiss: Leonard Peltier's fate lies with President Obama (5/23)
Santa Fe Indian School preparing for First Lady Michelle Obama (5/23)
All charges dropped for murder of Cheyenne man in New Mexico (5/23)
Donald Trump claims 'Jack Abrahamoff scandal' proves him right (5/23)
Kickapoo Tribe added to lawsuit over deadly casino bus accident (5/23)
Settlement opens door to tribal casino at popular Oklahoma lake (5/23)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth learn about martial arts (5/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe halts referendum on alcohol (5/20)
Clara Caufield: Off to a new adventure in the Montana mountains (5/20)
Washington Post conducts poll on Native views of racist mascot (5/20)
Warm Springs Tribes see marijuana as means to boost economy (5/20)
Miccosukee Tribe agrees to $4M settlement with former law firm (5/20)
Osage Nation signs compact to address adult protective services (5/20)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes prepare for $21M casino (5/20)
Former Seneca Nation gaming official jets around world after plea (5/20)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe welcomes back former casino workers (5/20)
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.