Thursday, February 24, 2005

Week 6


The issue is about land, which is commonly the issue in this country. Who does it belong to? Does it belong to the people that called the land home ages ago, or the white settlers who kicked off the American Indians that lived and survived by the land prior? The article asks a similar question, "The central question in the case is what happens to land, once part of an Indian reservation, that is reacquired by the tribe. Is the land sovereign, free of all but federal and tribal laws? Or are tribes like any other landowner, subject to local and state laws?" The article states that the land in the case only specifices a few parcels of land, but could affect much of the land in New York State. New York officials argue though taht because the land is not continuous there will be many issues of the state's governing potential, 'The (Oneida) land is not contiguous so there is a checker-boarding effect, and that deprives local governments their right to be self-governing, 'said Campanie, whose county is about 80 percent former reservation land.
"So you have street corners or the middle of a block where they don't have to pay taxes, where local zoning laws don't apply, where police and firefighters have no jurisdiction," Campanie said. 'That's chaos.'" This is not the first time the Oneida tribe has been to court of land issues, "Joined by other Oneidas in Wisconsin and Ontario, New York's Oneidas have been in a long-running land claim lawsuit against New York state for the return of 250,000 acres in Madison and Oneida counties they claim the state illegally bought from the tribes in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a related 1985 case that the Oneidas had a valid claim to their former reservation lands. As a result, land claims by the Mohawks and Cayugas, two other upstate New York tribes, also advanced in the court system, while the state and tribes tried to negotiate settlements.
The Oneida tribe is hopeful that the Supreme Court and New York will respectfully understand that this land belongs to the tribe"The Oneida Nation is hopeful the Supreme Court will recognize its rights on its reservation land," said Oneida spokesman Mark Emery."


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