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New York governor wants to 'work' with Seneca Nation on issues

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he wants to "work" with the Seneca Nation but tribal leaders aren't reporting much progress.

The tribe has longstanding grievances on rights-of-way, taxation, gaming and other issues. While Cuomo has sent his lieutenant governor and other officials to meet with tribal leaders, there's been little resolution so far.

“The governor hasn’t lied to us but he hasn’t said things that we want to hear," President Robert Odawi Porter told The New York Times.

One major issue involves the New York State Thruway Authority. A three-mile stretch runs through the reservation and the tribe says it hasn't been properly compensated for the use of its land.

“I say we should build a tollbooth,” 23-year-old tribal member Jordan Williams told the paper. “If they keep doing what they’re doing, why can’t we do that? I think we should start charging.”

Another issue is tobacco. Cuomo, unlike several of his predecessors, started enforcing the state's tax on sales in Indian Country this year.

“I want to work with the Senecas,” Cuomo told the Times. “But I’m going to protect the rights of my people, also, just the way they’re going to protect the rights of their people. I respect their obligations to their people, and I want them to respect mine.”

Get the Story:
Highway Fight Widens Gulf Between State and Seneca Nation (The New York Times 8/17)

Related Stories:
Seneca Nation asks Obama to intervene in state highway fight (8/2)

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