indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Judge affirms Cayuga Nation's sovereign rights
Monday, April 26, 2004

A federal judge on Friday upheld the sovereign rights of the Cayuga Nation of New York, paving the way for the tribe to open a gaming facility on ancestral territory.

In a closely watched decision, U.S. District Judge David Hurd said the state lacks jurisdiction over the tribe's recent purchase of a property within its former reservation. The land, illegally taken by the state over the past 200 years ago, is Indian Country, free from all zoning, taxation and other local restrictions, he ruled.

"Since Congress has not divested the Cayugas of their title to the land claim area, it stands to reason that the reservation status of that land remains in place to this day," Hurd wrote in the 41-page decision. A two-page order further prohibited local officials to from "applying or enforcing" any laws on the tribe.

The ruling allows the tribe to make renovations to an old auto parts store located in the village of Union Springs. The tribe plans to convert the store into a Class II gaming facility, which does not require state consent.

The ruling also means the tribe can purchase land within its former 64,000-acre former reservation and not worry about state interference. The purchase of the old store is the first time the tribe has held title to any parcel in more than 100 years.

Union Springs officials oppose the tribe's plans and an appeal is likely. The village claimed the reservation had been disestablished by a subsequent treaty but Hurd rejected the argument.

In the decision, Hurd cited a related case involving the Oneida Nation of New York, which has a 250,000-acre land claim. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision last July, held that the tribe's reservation still exists and forbade the city of Sherrill from imposing property taxes on the tribe's recent land acquisitions.

The city has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. In February, the justices were set to announce whether they would accept the case but instead asked the Bush administration for its views. A brief from Solicitor General Ted Olson hasn't been filed.

The Sherrill precedent plays a critical role in another tribe's case involving ancestral territory. The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, based in Oklahoma, purchased 229 acres of the former Cayuga reservation and plans to open a Class II facility there. Plans have been halted pending court resolution.

The Cayuga Nation and the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe are parties to the land claim. A federal judge awarded the tribes $247.9 million, in fair market rent value plus interest, for their losses stemming from the 1794 Treaty of Canandaiuga.

The 2nd Circuit earlier this month heard an appeal of the claim. The tribes say they should be awarded $1.7 billion and title to the land. The state of New York argues the claim is outright invalid.

The Cayuga Nation doesn't support the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe's return to New York. The Cayugas claim their relatives gave up any rights once they left the state under the 1838 Treaty of Buffalo Creek.

This dispute was not before Hurd but he wrote that the treaty doesn't mandate removal to the west even though some Cayuga ancestors settled in Kansas before ending up in Oklahoma. Unlike other treaties, "the language regarding the Cayugas evidences no promise to remove at all," he wrote.

"Therefore, there is no substantial or compelling evidence in the text of the Buffalo Creek Treaty of congressional intent to terminate the Cayugas' reservation," he added.

The National Indian Gaming Commission, which regulates the $15 billion tribal casino industry, had given approval to the Cayuga Nation for Class II gaming. But it was put on hold because the tribe's ordinance was not site specific. With the court ruling in hand, NIGC's final approval of the Union Springs facility is almost certain.

Get the Decision in Cayuga Indian Nation v. Village of Union Springs:
Decision | Order (April 23, 2004)

Related Decision in Oneida Indian Nation v. City of Sherrill:
Majority Opinion | Van Graafeiland Dissent

Related Stories:
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 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Oglala Sioux people aren't afraid to say no to easy cash (9/1)
Native Sun News: Release of secret uranium mining data ordered (9/1)
Mark Trahant: It's past time for tribal leaders to govern the nation (9/1)
Jennie Stockle: A safe space for opponents of offensive mascotry (9/1)
John Christian Hopkins: A big thank you to the friend I never met (9/1)
National Museum of the American Indian celebrates 10th birthday (9/1)
Mother arrested in connection with child's death on Navajo Nation (9/1)
Opinion: Energy development can help secure tribal independence (9/1)
Cherokee Nation announces $170M casino and retail development (9/1)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe won't be sharing gaming revenues this quarter (9/1)
Seminole Tribe on track to see gaming revenues increase to $2.1B (9/1)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to reopen gaming facility in February 2015 (9/1)
Editorial: Tohono O'odham Nation didn't play by 'rules' with casino (9/1)
Opinion: Gaming good for Eastern Cherokees but not for fellow tribe (9/1)
Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California (9/1)
Native Sun News: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too (8/29)
Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
WAER: ICWA matters handled in 'kangaroo courts' in South Dakota (8/29)
MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
Tule River Tribe helps remove marijuana operation on reservation (8/29)
Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
KPLU: Spokane Tribe maintains close ties with baseball franchise (8/29)
Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing (8/29)
DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
Recruiter from Spokane Tribe's college selected for Peirone Prize (8/28)
California tribes support release of water to benefit salmon runs (8/28)
Southern Ute Tribe invests $2B in big energy production system (8/28)
County hires lobbying firm to oppose federal recognition reforms (8/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation breaks ground for off-reservation casino (8/28)
Cherokee Nation starts construction on casino at Indian allotment (8/28)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe responds to opponents in casino suit (8/28)
Jamul Band continues work on $360M casino after victory in court (8/28)
Editorial: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe ups ante in casino feud (8/28)
Ho-Chunk Nation launches outreach effort amid casino expansion (8/28)
Nebraska Supreme Court hears arguments over gaming initiative (8/28)
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
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.