Upstate Citizens for Equality, Inc.


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GET THE FACTS ON UCE

WHAT IS UCE?

Upstate Citizens for Equality (UCE) is a growing, not-for-profit corporation composed of concerned citizens that stand against discrimination, and supports the continuation of free enterprise and equality in our communities. UCE was formed in early 1999 to serve as an active and prominent voice for 14,000 residents, landowners, and taxpaying citizens who reside in Seneca and Cayuga counties and are affected by the Cayuga Indian Land Claim.

WHY WAS IT FORMED?

In 1980 the Cayuga Indians (members of the Haudenosaunee, formally the Iroquois - Six Nation) filed a claim in Federal Court alleging that the sale of land (64,015 acres) by the Cayuga Indians to the State of New York in 1795 and 1807 was illegal because Congress did not ratify the sale.

The Federal government has joined this suit on the side of the Cayuga Indians as a plaintiff intervener. U.S. District Judge Neil McCurn has also ruled in favor of the Cayuga Indians, stating that they have a legal case, and now the case is before the U.S. District Court in Syracuse to determine a monetary award, if any, to the Cayuga Indians.

For 20 years the citizens of Seneca and Cayuga counties were led to believe that the government would take care of its taxpaying American citizens. When it became apparent that this wasn't the case, concerned citizens organized a grassroots campaign - Upstate Citizens for Equality, Inc. - Cayuga and Seneca Chapter - (UCE) in order to give the citizens a voice in this issue.

**UCE Cayuga/Seneca Chapter would like to thank UCE Oneida/Madison Chapter for its support to help us create our own chapter. We, in turn will assist others to do the same as they are affected by upcoming and pending land claims in other counties throughout New York State.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Everyone is at risk that lives in, works in, and/or owns a home in either Seneca or Cayuga counties. This land claim involves 64,015 acres of land forming a horseshoe around the north end of Cayuga Lake. The towns, or portions thereof, affected by the Indians' claim are the following: Cayuga County -- the towns of Aurelius, Ledyard, Montezuma, and Springport; Seneca County -- the towns of Romulus, Varick, Fayette, Seneca Falls, Tyre, and Waterloo. Those owning property in the counties but outside of the land claim area are still affected, as they will have to absorb the tax base loss the Cayuga Indians will not have to pay.

WHO ARE MEMBERS?

UCE's fundamental purpose is to ensure equality for all people. Memberships include a cross-section and diversification of people -- doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people, factory workers, farmers, retired people, all races, all backgrounds, all religions. The over 8,000 -- and growing -- membership welcomes everyone.

WHAT IS THE MOST CRUCIAL ISSUE UCE OPPOSES?

UCE opposes the establishment of an independent, self-proclaimed, sovereign Cayuga Indian Nation within the State of New York. Sovereignty presents these major problems:

  • Creation of a separate nation within the boundaries of the United States;
  • Removal of land from the tax rolls of Cayuga and Seneca counties, drastically increasing taxes for the area outside the reservation;
  • Loss of personal rights and freedoms now guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution to all people, including the Cayuga Indians;
  • Creation of separate, but UNEQUAL governances;
  • Imposition of unfair business practices forcing local, tax-paying businesses to compete with non-taxpaying reservation businesses;
  • Establishment of a police force unanswerable to the general public;
  • Loss of state and federal control of civil and environmental laws that affect pollution, hunting, fishing, gathering, and personal property rights;
  • Threatening social, economic, and community degradation as a result of unregulated businesses. (For more information on sovereignty see Sovereignty section)

    ARE THERE OTHER INDIAN LAND CLAIMS IN NEW YORK STATE?

    Currently there are 4 active Indian land claims throughout New York State -- Cayuga, Seneca, Mohawk, and Oneida. The most recent pending case is the Onondaga land claim. At least three additional tribes are preparing land claim suits as well. (Refer to Map)

    HOW MUCH LAND ARE THE INDIANS CLAIMING?

    According to the Haudenosaunee Press Guide:"...the aboriginal homeland of the Haudenosaunee within the current boundaries of New York State consist of 39,000 square miles... (Approximately 25 million acres of New York State's 31 million acres of land)."

    This guide also states under Haudenosaunee Statement on Land Claims that their first objective is: "To win recognition of the Haudenosaunee ownership of the entire area of Haudenosaunee territory..."

    WHAT IS UCE'S PLATFORM?

    NO reservation should be established;

    NO tax-free residential or business lands should be allowed;

    NO tax-free businesses should be allowed;

    NO negotiations should be secret; and

    ALL people are EQUAL and should be under ONE set of laws.

    WHAT IS UCE'S OBJECTIVE?

    The Cayuga-Seneca UCE chapter took an active part in defeating the Cayuga Indian Land Claim by voting politicians in favor of a settlement out of office, working with attorneys to make them aware of arguments, lobbying our elected representatives and sometimes picketing their offices.

    The objective to reverse the judge's previous ruling that the Cayuga Indians have a claim was accomplished May 15, 2006. The outcome of the Cayuga Indian land claim was pivotal as it sets a precedent for New York and nationwide Indian land claims.

    BUT, while the land claim is over, our platform still stands as we face fee to trust applications by the tribes. The Cayuga-Seneca UCE chapter's stand is no trust lands should be established, as they would merely circumvent the ruling passed down in our favor and create a reservation where there has been none since 1789. New York State has the advantage with our precedent set to dismiss the remaing land claims and also has preemptive rights over the lands which should barr the federal government from establishing trust lands in our state. Unfortunately, our governor is in a rush to relinquish state sovereignty in an effort to circumvent the state constitution by using tribes to open casinos.

    Chairman Richard Tallcot is a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the federal government's right to establish trust lands, but does so as a Citizens for Equal Rights Alliance board member.

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