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Oneida Nation wants court to uphold promises
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments in the Oneida Nation's land case. Observers commented after the hearing.

Tribal representative Ray Halbritter said the case "is about whether the U.S. keeps its promises." The tribe says a 1794 treaty setting aside a reservation is still in force. The tribe argued that land it reacquires is Indian Country, free from local and state taxation.

Arlinda Locklear, a lawyer for the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin who argued the Oneida land claim before the high court 20 years ago, said the justices appeared divided on the issue. Justice Antonin Scalia questioned whether the tribe should be able to assert jurisdiction on new land acquisitions.

Scott Peterman, former president of Upstate Citizens for Equality, a group opposed to the land claim, predicted the court would rule that the land is not Indian Country. A county attorney said tribe would face more foreclosures for not paying property taxes if that happens.

A federal judge and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the tribe, saying the treaty is still in force.

Get the Story:
Supreme Court gives Sherrill its day (The Syracuse Post-Standard 1/12)
Lines formed early to hear Sherrill case (The Syracuse Post-Standard 1/12)
High court hears tax case (The Utica Observer-Dispatch 1/12)
Scalia fears 'chaos' if Oneidas win tax case (AP 1/12)
High court hears land case involving Oneida Nation (The Utica Observer-Dispatch 1/12)

Relevant Documents:
Briefs | Docket Sheet No. 03-855

Relevant Links:
Oneida Nation -
NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project -

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

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

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