Editorial: Stand up to Seneca Nation's claims

"As local officials debate whether to enter into land claim settlement agreements with Indian tribes as part of gambling facility development packages, perhaps they should take note of what's going on in western New York with the Seneca Indian Nation.

Unhappy with Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to collect sales taxes from sales by Indian-owed businesses to non-Indian consumers, the Senecas have decided to play hardball.

Last week, the tribe declared invalid a 1954 agreement with the state to allow part of the Thruway to be built along reservation land. They claim the agreement never had proper federal approval.

As a result, the Senecas now claim the state is trespassing. They are attempting to charge New York $1 for every automobile traveling on that section of the highway.

The state rejects this claim, of course, but the dispute will likely find its way into a courtroom, where plenty of taxpayer (and tribal member) funds will be spent on lawyers.

This is a shame, because the Senecas' claims are simply preposterous. They made a deal in 1954. It's been fine for more than a half a century. Suddenly, a governor comes into office who actually makes an effort to enforce laws, and they claim trespass."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Spitzer needs to stand up to the Senecas (The Auburn Citizen 5/21)

Relevant Links:
Seneca Nation - http://www.sni.org
Honor Indian Treaties - http://www.honorindiantreaties.org

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