Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter with former vice president Joe Biden. Photo: Oneida Indian Nation

Charles Kader: Tribal communities still face threats to their homelands

Legal and political attacks on tribal homelands are nothing new. But what brings in the Iroquois people together to defend their territory? Charles Kader, a citizen of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, explores the issue:
Quietly, a long-standing lawsuit against the Oneida Indian Nation of New York was recently denied on appeal. Brought by the Central New York Fair Business Association, the attempt was but the latest effort to further divest this Iroquois Nation from their ancestral territory, by any means necessary. This time it was the federal court system, but the motivation to do so remains a tendency of land usurpers to deprive current and future Native populations of the free and fair use of their original land holdings in the name of progress.

While the Oneida Nation (which owns Oneida Nation Enterprises, parent company of Indian Country Media Network) was successful in defense this time around, the threat to land base retention remains the number one issue in Indian country today. People without land are fighting historical obscurity at the least. More likely extinction is the outcome.

This attack was filed by confederated Central New York business owners against the Oneida Nation with the premise that the tribal businesses were unfairly positioned as tax-immune entities within their competitive market. The parallel Upstate Citizens for Equality activist group located in the same geographic area alleges that their property taxes are unevenly levied for municipal use while land into trust parcels populate the same tax rolls in an exempt status.

Read More on the Story:
Charles Kader: Land Defenders In War and Peace Hold the Line Against Historical Extinction (Indian Country Media Network 4/22)

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