George-Kanentiio: New York governor can mend rift

"Gov. Spitzer swept into office by pledging his administration would be defined by its ethics, fiscal responsibility and willingness to enact constructive changes in all areas of the state, ranging from health care reform to an emphasis on economic revitalization.

His inauguration speech was as charged with hope and determination, followed by a State of the State address that was equally powerful in its promise to shake up the way New York is governed.

We among the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois) have long sought a decisive change in the passive manner in which we were treated by former Gov. George Pataki.

Gov. Spitzer can avoid Pataki's errors by adopting a common-sense approach to Indian relations. He can begin by reviving the Office of Indian Relations and staffing it with Native personnel who are trusted by the Iroquois Confederacy. He can meet directly with Native people at our capital of Onondaga to learn of our concerns instead of having selective information pressed upon him by highly paid lobbyists.

Spitzer should discard the casinos-for-land tactic and form a joint land resolution team composed of Iroquois and state officials to investigate the failures of the previous policies and come up with tangible ways to resolve our claims without having to resort to decades-long court battles.

The governor should give serious thought to reviving the proposed 1997 Trade and Commerce Agreement, which would enable the Iroquois governments to exercise exclusive regulatory control over all reservations businesses. Assessments from those enterprises would be earmarked to pay for underfunded health, housing and education programs. The governor's decision last week to appoint Richard Rifkin as adviser on Indian affairs will crash against our concerns. Rifkin has reaffirmed Spitzer's support for expanded casino gambling in New York. Difficult as it may be for the governor to believe, not all Iroquois are not enamored of gambling, since it inevitably leads to the termination of our land claims. Sadly, it seems the governor is continuing the failed policies of his predecessor by accentuating more Indian casinos above all else."

Get the Story:
Doug George-Kanentiio: Spitzer can heal Native relations (The Albany Times-Union 1/21)

Related Stories:
Column: Tribal issues face new New York governor (12/18)
Five-hour meeting on Oneida Nation land-into-trust (12/15)
Counties offer Oneida land-into-trust proposal (12/14)
Onondaga Nation might get into cigarette business (12/13)
Two New York tribes depend on brisk cigarette sales (11/06)
New York tribes cite sovereignty in tax suit (10/11)
New York busts tobacco smuggling ring (08/11)
New York Indians gear up for tobacco tax fight (8/8)
Cayuga tribes fail to seek rehearing on land claim (06/14)
U.S. Supreme Court refuses to clarify tribal claims (05/16)
New York sued over Internet tobacco taxation (05/04)
New York governor sued over Indian taxes (5/3)
Washington tribes meet with state over taxes (5/1)
Osage Nation sues state over tobacco rules again (4/21)
Democrats, Republicans at odds over tobacco tax (03/21)
Editorial: If Indians won't pay tobacco tax, get rid of it (03/21)
Battle brewing over tobacco taxes in New York (3/20)
Seneca Nation criticizes tobacco shipment bill (03/13)
New York won't collect sales taxes on reservations (02/24)
Group pushes Pataki to collect reservation taxes (2/16)
Two Washington tribes reach deal on state gas tax (01/27)
Pataki to delay collection of cigarette taxes (01/19)
Tribes not worried about Supreme Court ruling (12/09)
Supreme Court upholds state tax on reservation fuel (12/07)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe won't enter tobacco deal (12/07)
Washington to use gas tax decision against tribes (12/07)
U.S. Supreme Court weighs tribal-state tax case (10/04)
Pataki shifts stance on reservation taxation (02/24)
Pataki cites sovereignty in veto of Indian tax bill (11/16)
Pataki expected to veto Indian tax legislation (11/12)
Convenience stores blame revenue loss on Indians (05/25)
Seneca Nation commissions study on state tax plan (05/12)
New York lawmakers press state taxation on tribes (04/28)
Pataki wants to delay Indian taxation indefinitely (02/11)
Top N.Y. lawmaker rejects call to delay Indian tax (01/29)
Pataki calls for delay in state taxation plan (01/22)
Poll shows N.Y. residents oppose state tax plan (12/09)
N.Y. delays implementation of Indian tax rules (11/10)
Seneca Nation leaders lobby against tax effort (11/7)
Seneca Nation plans lawsuit over state tax plan (11/6)
Seneca Nation launches ad campaign against taxes (10/28)
Oneida Nation near deal with state on taxation (10/23)
Mohawk Tribe protesting state's taxation plan (09/18)
N.Y. tribes opposing state plan to collect tax (9/16)
Advertisement
Tags
Trending in News
More Headlines