Rep. Acuri: Explaining Oneida land-into-trust rider

"When it comes to the New York Oneida Indian Nation’s land-into-trust dispute, the name-calling, the legal battles and uncertainty have gone on for far too long.

It is overwhelmingly clear to me that all interested parties – the New York Oneidas, counties, and localities – favor a comprehensive settlement that brings finality once and for all to Central New York. It is time for all of us to be good neighbors. And to be good neighbors, the New York Oneidas and county and local governments must sit down at the bargaining table and negotiate a fair and equitable resolution.

As it stands right now, the New York Oneidas want to fast-track consideration of their land-into-trust application and the Department of the Interior wants to impose its bureaucratic will on local residents. What the Oneidas are referring to as a settlement process has nothing to do with agreement between the parties and has everything to do with imposing an onerous and hasty settlement upon us.

As a result, I am trying to buy time for all parties to come back to the negotiating table and reach a decision that is best for us locally – not just what Washington wants. The entire Central New York community deserves nothing less.

My role as congressman is not to dictate the terms of a settlement resolution, but to encourage all parties to come together on a level playing field and negotiate. The Department of the Interior’s consideration of the New York Oneidas’ trust application is occurring at a speed historically unparalleled. Historically, it has often taken tribes over a decade to navigate the land-into-trust process, and those cases included fair and equitable agreements with localities."

Get the Story:
Arcuri: Ultimate goal must be to end community rift with Oneidas (The Utica Observer-Dispatch 4/10)

Relevant Documents:
Final EIS (March 2008) | Draft EIS (November 2006)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Transfer From Fee to Trust of Parcels Owned by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York in Oneida and Madison Counties, New York (February 22, 2008)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
BIA official calls high court ruling 'quite depressing' (March 31, 2005)
Major defeat for Oneida Nation in Supreme Court case (March 30, 2005)

Relevant Links:
Oneida Nation Trust -
Oneida Nation, New York -
Indian Nation Fee-to-Trust Land Acquisition Applications in New York State -
Oneida Indian Nation's Land Into Trust Application, Madison County -

Sherrill v. Oneida Nation Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Souter] | Dissent [Stevens]

Related Stories:
Rep. Arcuri tried to block Oneida land-into-trust (4/9)
Cason 'elusive' on Oneida Nation decision (4/4)
BIA still reviewing Oneida Nation land-into-trust (3/31)
Oneida Nation, county meet for first time in years (3/28)
Oneida Nation asks BIA for all 17,000 acres in trust (3/25)
County discusses Oneida Nation land-into-trust (03/07)
Cason to follow through on Oneida land-into-trust (2/25)
BIA to rule on Oneida trust lands request (2/22)
Cason to brief counties on Oneida land-into-trust (2/22)