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Seneca Nation leader discusses tobacco tax at UN forum

The Seneca Nation has a treaty right to regulate trade and commerce free of state interference, a tribal leader told the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua promises the tribe “free use and enjoyment of Seneca lands.” The 1842 Buffalo Creek Treaty states that the tribe enjoys freedom from “all taxes, and assessments for roads, highways, or any other purpose."

“It is clear that taking our treaty arguments to the international level is the next necessary step," council member Nikki Seneca told the UN. "The Seneca Nation will continue to defend our sovereign status, defend our treaty rights, and call attention to the need for New York State and the federal government to honor our treaties."

The The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the state's tobacco efforts do not infringe on tribal sovereignty.

Get the Story:
Senecas Reach Out To U.N. (The Jamestown Post-Journal 5/27)

2nd Circuit Decision:
Oneida Nation v. Cuomo (May 9, 2011)

Related Stories:
New York judge bars tobacco tax on sales to Seneca Nation (5/10)
2nd Circuit lifts injunction in New York tribal tobacco tax feud (5/9)

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