"As an Oneida, I am appalled by the use of my grandmother’s name to justify casino gambling and the demise of her dream for a homeland in which all Oneidas lived in peace with their neighbors while being governed by a traditional council of chiefs and clan mothers.
None of the many letters written by Mary Cornelius Winder indicates she at any time supported a “men’s council” or a “CEO” who has the authority to do what he pleases without any consultation with the people. My grandmother although born an Onondaga was an enrolled member of the Oneidas of the Thames in Canada but her grandparents came from here. Ray Halbritter is her grandson and traces his heritage to the Thames as well.
When she died in 1954 she passed on her dream to my mother, the late clan mother Maisie Shenandoah. When my mom saw that dream was in danger she removed Halbritter from his position as a “runner” (messenger) for the Oneidas only to have him use his authority to strip her of all of her benefits as an Oneida. He did the same thing to my brother, sisters and many other Oneidas. When we appealed to the same U.S. courts he has tried to use, we were told we were not protected by the Bill of Rights and were at his mercy.
Now he has destroyed the land rights of all the Iroquois and many other native peoples. Since he does not have Oneida children he does not follow our traditional laws which require every decision to take into consideration its effect on the coming generations."
Get the Story:
Danielle Schenandoah: Not all Oneidas support Halbritter
(The Oneida Dispatch 8/15)