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What is UCE's position on the New York Land Claims?

Click here to read UCE's statement on the issues between the Seneca Nation and New York State over the thruway and taxation of non-Indians.

Here are the respective briefs of the parties on the appeal of Judge Kahn's decision dismissing the possessory land claims of the Oneida Indian Nation and permitting the non-possessory claims to proceed:

New York's Brief on Appeal: [PDF]

United States' Brief on Appeal: [PDF]

Oneida Indian Nation of New York's Brief on Appeal: [PDF]

Amicus Brief of NCAI in Support of OIN: [PDF]

Click here to read Judge Kahn's decision dismissing the possessory land claims of the Oneida Indian Nation and permitting the non-possessory claims to proceed.

Here are the respective briefs of the parties on New York State, Madison County and Oneida County's motion for summary judgment dismissing the Oneida Land Claim:

Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Summary Judgment: [PDF]

United States' Memorandum of Law in opposition: [PDF]

OIN's Memorandum of Law in opposition: [PDF]

Defendants' Reply Memorandum of Law in support: [PDF]

It is the position and opinion of Upstate Citizens for Equality and its members that any purchase by the State of New York of Indian land that occurred prior to 1790 or between 1793 and 1834 are valid notwithstanding any court decisions to the contrary. For the following reasons the State of New York was not prohibited from acquiring such lands and extinguishing Indian title thereto.

Upon the Revolution, Britain's fee title or right of preemption passed to the individual states (not the United States). The lands to which Britain held fee simple absolute title also passed to the individual states upon the Revolution. See Massachusetts v. New York, 271 U.S. 65, 8586 (1926); Shively v. Bowlby, 152 U.S. 1, 15 (1894); Hartcourt v. Gaillard,, 25 U.S. (12 Wheat.) 523, 526 11827); Johnson, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) at 584; Oneida Indian Nation, 414 U.S. at 670; Johnson, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) at 584; James, 716 F.2d at 74. The landed states eventually ceded to the new national government their claims to the western territories beyond their present boundaries. As a result, the right of preemption to Indian lands in the western territories passed to the United States. However, the right of preemption to Indian lands within the borders of the thirteen original states remained with those states. James, 716 F.2d at 74 (citing Oneida Indian Nation, 414 U.S. at 670; Seneca Nation of Indians v. Christy, 162 U.S. 283 (1896); United States v. Franklin County, 50 F. Supp. 152, 156 (N.D.N.Y. 1943); Clinton & Hotopp, supra, 31 Me. L. Rev. at 36 & n.73; William E. Dwyer, Jr., Land Claims Under the Indian Nonintercourse Act, 25 U.S.C. 177, 7 B.C. Env. Aff. L. Rev. 259, 265 n.41 (1978); Jensen, supra, at 198-238 (1966)).

New York had the sovereign power under the Articles of Confederation to extinguish title to Indian lands in the state and to acquire them from the Indians without the approval or involvement of the United States. See Oneida VIII, 860 F.2d at 1154.

In 1788, in the course of explaining to the citizens of New York why the recently drafted Constitution provided for federal courts, Alexander Hamilton observed: "The erection of a new government, whatever care or wisdom may distinguish the work, cannot fail to originate questions of intricacy and nicety; and these may, in a particular manner, be expected to flow from the establishment of a constitution founded upon the total or partial incorporation of a number of distinct sovereignties." The Federalist No. 82, p. 491 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961). Hamilton's prediction has proved quite accurate. While no one disputes the proposition that "the Constitution created a Federal Government of limited powers," Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U.S. , (1991) (slip op., at 3); and while the Tenth Amendment makes explicit that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"; the task of ascertaining the constitutional line between federal and state power has given rise to many of the Court's most difficult and celebrated cases. At least as far back as Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 1 Wheat. 304, 324 (1816), the Court has resolved questions "of great importance and delicacy" in determining whether particular sovereign powers have been granted by the Constitution to the Federal Government or have been retained by the States.

First, the Constitution allocates to Congress the power "regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes." Art. I, 8, cl. 3. Interstate commerce was an established feature of life in the late 18th century. See, e.g., The Federalist No. 42, p. 267 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961) ("The defect of power in the existing Confederacy to regulate the commerce between its several members [has] been clearly pointed out by experience"). Although the language of that Clause speaks only of Congress' power over commerce, "the Court long has recognized that it also limits the power of the States to erect barriers against trade." Lewis v. BT Investment Managers, Inc., 447 U.S. 27, 35 (1980).

The Convention generated a great number of proposals for the structure of the new Government, but two quickly took center stage. Under the Virginia Plan, as first introduced by Edmund Randolph, Congress would exercise legislative authority directly upon individuals, without employing the States as intermediaries. 1 Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, p. 21 (M. Farrand ed. 1911). Under the New Jersey Plan, as first introduced by William Paterson, Congress would continue to require the approval of the States before legislating, as it has under the Articles of Confederation. 1 id., 243-244. These two plans underwent various revisions as the Convention progressed, but they remained the two primary options discussed by the delegates. One frequently expressed objection to the New Jersey Plan was that it might require the Federal Government to coerce the States into implementing legislation. As Randolph explained the distinction, "the true question is whether we shall adhere to the federal plan [ i.e., the New Jersey Plan], or introduce the national plan. The insufficiency of the former has been fully displayed . . . . There are but two modes, by which the end of a General Government can be attained: the 1st is by coercion as proposed by Mr. P[aterson's] plan[, the 2nd] by real legislation as proposed by the other plan. Coercion [is] impracticable, expensive, cruel to individuals. . . . We must resort therefore to a national Legislation over individuals." 1 id., at 255-256 (emphasis in original). Madison echoed this view: "The practicability of making laws, with coercive sanctions, for the States as political bodies, had been exploded on all hands." 2 id., at 9.

In the end, the Convention opted for a Constitution in which Congress would exercise its legislative authority directly over individuals rather than over States; for a variety of reasons, it rejected the New Jersey Plan in favor of the Virginia Plan. 1 id., at 313. This choice was made clear to the subsequent state ratifying conventions. Oliver Ellsworth, a member of the Connecticut delegation in Philadelphia, explained the distinction to his State's convention: "This Constitution does not attempt to coerce sovereign bodies, states, in their political capacity. . . . But this legal coercion singles out the . . . individual." 2 J. Elliot, Debates on the Federal Constitution 197 (2d ed. 1863). Charles Pinckney, another delegate at the Constitutional Convention, emphasized to the South Carolina House of Representatives that in Philadelphia "the necessity of having a government which should at once operate upon the people, and not upon the states, was conceived to be indispensable by every delegation present." 4 id., at 256. Rufus King, one of Massachusetts' delegates, returned home to support ratification by recalling the Commonwealth's unhappy experience under the Articles of Confederation and arguing: "Laws, to be effective, therefore, must not be laid on states, but upon individuals." 2 id., at 56. At New York's convention, Hamilton (another delegate in Philadelphia) exclaimed: "But can we believe that one state will ever suffer itself to be used as an instrument of coercion? The thing is a dream; it is impossible. Then we are brought to this dilemma -- either a federal standing army is to enforce the requisitions, or the federal treasury is left without supplies, and the government without support. What, sir, is the cure for this great evil? Nothing, but to enable the national laws to operate on individuals, in the same manner as those of the states do." 2 id., at 233. At North Carolina's convention, Samuel Spencer recognized that "all the laws of the Confederation were binding on the states in their political capacities, . . . but now the thing is entirely different. The laws of Congress will be binding on individuals." 4 id., at 153.

In providing for a stronger central government, therefore, the Framers explicitly chose a Constitution that confers upon Congress the power to regulate individuals, not States. As we have seen, the Court has consistently respected this choice. We have always understood that even where Congress has the authority under the Constitution to pass laws requiring or prohibiting certain acts, it lacks the power directly to compel the States to require or prohibit those acts. E.g., FERC v. Mississippi, 456 U.S., at 762-766; Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Reclamation Assn., Inc., 452 U.S., at 288-289; Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall., at 76. The allocation of power contained in the Commerce Clause, for example, authorizes Congress to regulate commerce directly; it does not authorize Congress to regulate state governments' regulation of commerce.

This is not to say that Congress lacks the ability to encourage a State to regulate in a particular way, or that Congress may not hold out incentives to the States as a method of influencing a State's policy choices. Our cases have identified a variety of methods, short of outright coercion, by which Congress may urge a State to adopt a legislative program consistent with federal interests.

It is incontestible that the Constitution established a system of "dual sovereignty." Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U. S. 452, 457 (1991); Tafflin v. Levitt, 493 U. S. 455, 458 (1990). Although the States surrendered many of their powers to the new Federal Government, they retained "a residuary and inviolable sovereignty," The Federalist No. 39, at 245 (J. Madison). This is reflected throughout the Constitution's text, Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall. 71, 76 (1869); Texas v. White, 7 Wall. 700, 725 (1869), including (to mention only a few examples) the prohibition on any involuntary reduction or combination of a State's territory, Art. IV, Section(s) 3; the Judicial Power Clause, Art. III, Section(s) 2, and the Privileges and Immunities Clause, Art. IV, Section(s) 2, which speak of the "Citizens" of the States; the amendment provision, Article V, which requires the votes of three-fourths of the States to amend the Constitution; and the Guarantee Clause, Art. IV, Section(s) 4, which "presupposes the continued existence of the states and . . . those means and instrumentalities which are the creation of their sovereign and reserved rights," Helvering v. Gerhardt, 304 U. S. 405, 414-415 (1938). Residual state sovereignty was also implicit, of course, in the Constitution's conferral upon Congress of not all governmental powers, but only discrete, enumerated ones, Art. I, Section(s) 8, which implication was rendered express by the Tenth Amendment's assertion that "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The Framers' experience under the Articles of Confederation had persuaded them that using the States as the instruments of federal governance was both ineffectual and provocative of federal-state conflict. See The Federalist No. 15. Preservation of the States as independent political entities being the price of union, and "[t]he practicality of making laws, with coercive sanctions, for the States as political bodies" having been, in Madison's words, "exploded on all hands," 2 Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, p. 9 (M. Farrand ed. 1911), the Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the state and federal governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people-who were, in Hamilton's words, "the only proper objects of government," The Federalist No. 15, at 109. We have set forth the historical record in more detail elsewhere, see New York v. United States, 505 U. S., at 161-166, and need not repeat it here. It suffices to repeat the conclusion: "The Framers explicitly chose a Constitution that confers upon Congress the power to regulate individuals, not States." Id., at 166. The great innovation of this design was that "our citizens would have two political capacities, one state and one federal, each protected from incursion by the other"-"a legal system unprecedented in form and design, establishing two orders of government, each with its own direct relationship, its own privity, its own set of mutual rights and obligations to the people who sustain it and are governed by it." U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U. S. 779, 838 (1995) (Kennedy, J., concurring). The Constitution thus contemplates that a State's government will represent and remain accountable to its own citizens. See New York, supra, at 168-169; United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549, 576-577 (1995) (Kennedy, J., concurring). Cf. Edgar v. MITE Corp., 457 U. S. 624, 644 (1982) ("the State has no legitimate interest in protecting nonresident[s]"). As Madison expressed it: "[T]he local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere." The Federalist No. 39, at 245.

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. . . . The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State." The Federalist No. 45, pp. 292-293 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961) (J. Madison).

If Congress intends to alter the 'usual constitutional balance between the States and the Federal Government,' it must make its intention to do so 'unmistakably clear in the language of the statute.' Atascadero State Hospital v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 242 (1985); see also Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 99 (1984). Atascadero was an Eleventh Amendment case, but a similar approach is applied in other contexts. Congress should make its intention 'clear and manifest' if it intends to pre-empt the historic powers of the States, Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 230 (1947) . . . . 'In traditionally sensitive areas, such as legislation affecting the federal balance, the requirement of clear statement assures that the legislature has in fact faced, and intended to bring into issue, the critical matters involved in the judicial decision.' United States v. Bass, 404 U.S. 336, 349 (1971)." Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 65 (1989). This plain statement rule is nothing more than an acknowledgement that the States retain substantial sovereign powers under our constitutional scheme, powers with which Congress does not readily interfere. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution and its explicit statement that all powers not granted to the Federal Government are reserved, the Constitution cannot realistically be read to have eliminated New York's sovereign power to extinguish title to Indian lands in the state and to acquire them from the Indians without the approval or involvement of the United States. Congress in fact had acknowledge this power and explicitly provided that the Trade and Intercourse Act did not impair it by including the "surrounded by settlements" provision in the Trade and Intercourse Acts from 1793 through 1834.

The 1790 act was, by its plain terms, applicable "to any state, whether having the right of pre-emption to such lands or not." See Act of July 22, 1790, 4, 1 Stat. 137, 138, SPA635-36. When Congress revised the TIA in 1793, it expressly removed that language, thereby eliminating any manifestation of an intent to continue to bind the original thirteen states, which held the right of preemption. See Act of March 2, 1793, 8, 1 Stat. 329, 330, SPA637. By deleting the prior reference to the states, Congress freed the states to purchase Indian lands within their borders without any federal participation or approval. Notably, the Supreme Court has held that, because the TIA contains no clear expression of congressional intent to impose statutory restrictions on the federal government, the TIA is inapplicable to the United States. See Federal Power Comm. v. Tuscarora Indian Nation, 362 U.S. 99, 120 (1960). Therefore since it also lacks a clear expression of congressional intent to impose restrictions on the states it is inapplicable to them as well. The versions of the Trade and Intercourse Act in effect from 1793 through 1834 contain no provision in unmistakably clear and unequivocal language that altered that balance. And though Congress cannot merely prohibit an activity, Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, held that Congress may "prescribe the rule by which commerce is to be governed". Congress may govern commerce, and in the course of that "regulation" prohibit activities, but the law must not merely be a prohibition but a plan of control.

The U.S. Supreme Court while interpreting 25 USC 194 stated in Wilson v. Omaha Tribe, 442 U. S. 653, 666 (1979) the U.S. Supreme Court held "It nevertheless does not follow that the "white persons" to whom will be shifted the burden of proof in title litigation with Indians also include the sovereign States of the Union. "[In] common usage, the term 'person' does not include the sovereign, [and] statutes employing the phrase are ordinarily construed to exclude it." United States v. Cooper Corp., 312 U.S. 600, 604 (1941); accord, United States v. Mine Workers, 330 U.S. 258, 275 (1947). Particularly is this true where the statute imposes a burden or limitation, as distinguished from conferring a benefit or advantage. United States v. Knight, 14 Pet. 301, 315 (1840). There is nevertheless "no hard and fast rule of exclusion," United States v. Cooper Corp., supra, at 604-605; and much depends on the context, the subject matter, legislative history, and executive interpretation. The legislative history here is uninformative, and executive interpretation is unhelpful with respect to this dormant statute. But in terms of the purpose of the provision -- that of preventing and providing remedies against non-Indian squatters on Indian lands -- it is doubtful that Congress anticipated such threats from the States themselves or intended to handicap the States so as to offset the likelihood of unfair advantage. Indeed, the 1834 Act, which included 22, the provision identical to the present 194, was "intended to apply to the whole Indian country, as defined in the first section." H. R. Rep. No. 474, 23d Cong., 1st Sess., 10 (1834). Section 1 defined Indian country as being "all that part of the United States west of the Mississippi, and not within the states of Missouri and Louisiana, or the territory of Arkansas, and, also, that part of the United States east of the Mississippi River, and not within any state to which the Indian title has not been extinguished . . . ." 4 Stat. 729. Although this definition was discarded in the Revised Statutes, see Rev. Stat. 5596, it is apparent that in adopting 22 Congress had in mind only disputes arising in Indian country, disputes that would not arise in or involve any of the States."

The 1793 Act specifically recognized that it was limited to interstate trade with Indians and not intrastate trade in section 13 where it provides "That nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent any trade or intercourse with Indians living on lands surrounded by settlements of the citizens of the United States, and being within the jurisdiction of any of the individual states. " This "surrounded by settlements" exception was contained in all of the Acts except that of 1834 when it was eliminated. No comparable provision exists today.

The lands acquired were solely within the boundaries of the State of New York and were surrounded by settlements of citizens of the United States.

The determination of the breadth and scope of Congress's exercise of its commerce power, like all inquiries of statutory interpretation, begins with and is circumscribed by the statute's text. Richardson v. United States, 526 U.S. 813, 818, 143 L. Ed. 2d 985, 119 S. Ct. 1707 (1999); Consumer Prod. Safety Comm'n v. GTE Sylvania, Inc., 447 U.S. 102, 108, 64 L. Ed. 2d 766, 100 S. Ct. 2051 (1980). If "the statute, as a whole, clearly expresses Congress' intention," the Court's role is to effectuate that intention. Dunn v. CFTC, 519 U.S. 465, 479, 137 L. Ed. 2d 93, 117 S. Ct. 913 (1997) (emphasis added) (citation omitted); FTC v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 363 U.S. 536, 553, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1385, 80 S. Ct. 1267 (1960). Another established doctrine of the Supreme Court is, that where the power of Congress to regulate is exclusive the failure of Congress to make express regulations indicates its will that the subject shall be left free from any restrictions or impositions; and any regulation of the subject by the states, except in matters of local concern only, as hereafter mentioned, is repugnant to such freedom. This was held by Mr. Justice Johnson in Gibbon v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 222, by Mr. Justice Grier in the Passenger Cases, 7 How. 283, 462, and has been affirmed in subsequent cases. State Freight Tax Cases, 15 Wall. 232, 279; Railroad Co. v. Husen, 95 U.S. 465, 469; Welton v. Missouri, 91 U.S. 275, 282; Mobile v. Kimball, 102 U.S. 691, 697; Brown v. Houston, 114 U.S. 622, 631; Walling v. Michigan, 116 U.S. 446, 455; Pickard v. Pullman Southern Car Co., 117 U.S. 34; Wabash, &c;, Railway Co. v. Illinois, 118 U.S. 557.

The Supreme Court has observed, statutory terms must not be interpreted in isolation but, rather, must be interpreted in the context of the whole statute in the manner "most harmonious with its scheme and with the general purposes that Congress manifested." Commissioner v. Engle, 464 U.S. 206, 217, 78 L. Ed. 2d 420, 104 S. Ct. 597 (1984); see also Textron Lycoming Reciprocating Engine Div., AVCO Corp. v. United Auto., Aerospace & Agric. Implement Workers of Am., 523 U.S. 653, 657, 140 L. Ed. 2d 863, 118 S. Ct. 1626 (1998); Crandon v. United States, 494 U.S. 152, 158, 108 L. Ed. 2d 132, 110 S. Ct. 997 (1990); United States v. Morton, 467 U.S. 822, 828, 81 L. Ed. 2d 680, 104 S. Ct. 2769 (1984). It is clear from the complete reading of the 1793 Act that it prohibited individuals from trading with Indians located in other states; it permitted individuals to trade with Indians within their state of residency; and it did not apply to the states at all. The 1793 Act was clearly intended to protect Indians that were on the frontier of the new nation from unscrupulous dealings of individuals not Sovereign States.

This intent was clarified when Congress reenacted the Trade and Intercourse Act in 1796, the Act, for the first time, contained in its first section the description of a boundary line "established by treaty between the United States and various Indian tribes," extending from Lake Erie down the Cuyahoga and Ohio Rivers, through Kentucky and eventually to South Carolina, delineating settled territory from "Indian country." The first section also contained a proviso that: "if the boundary line between the said Indian tribes and the United States, shall, at any time hereafter, be varied, by any treaty which shall be made between the said Indian tribes and the United States, then all the provisions contained in this act, shall be construed to apply to the said line so to be varied, in the same manner, as the said provisions now apply to the boundary line herein before recited."

Just because the Commerce Clause delegates the authority to regulate trade with the Indians to the federal government it did not and does not act to prohibit the States from trading with the Indians unless expressly prohibited by statute that makes Congress' intention to do so in unmistakably clear terms. It is evident that Congress knew how and actually did prohibit the State from trading with the Indians in the 1790 Act.

The Treaty of Canandaigua does not alter this intent. In fact it was the United States giving the Six Nations its promise as an equal sovereign to the state that it will respect the lines then existing by virtue of the treaties that the respective Indian nations had already negotiated with New York as a coordinate sovereign until such time the they choose to sell it to the people of the United States who have the right to purchase. In exchange for this acknowledgement the Six Nations could not sell land to a foreign power or person. Specifically Article II provides that "The United States acknowledge the lands reserved to the Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga Nations, in their respective treaties with the state of New York, and called their reservations, to be their property; and the United States will never claim the same, nor disturb them or either of the Six Nations, nor their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them, in the free use and enjoyment thereof: but the said reservations shall remain theirs, until they choose to sell the same to the people of the United States who have right to purchase." In fact Senator Sevier according to the Appendix to the Congressional Globe (page 290, center column) states "The third and last treaty made by us with the Six Nations of New York, in their confederated character, (unless the one we are now considering should constitute a single exception,) was made in 1794. This was an important treaty, and has governed us in our intercourse with them ever since. In that treaty, we acknowledged separately, to each of the tribes composing the Six Nations, their individual right and title to certain specific reservations of land; and we guaranteed to them separately the possession and enjoyment of their respective reservations; and conferred upon them the right to dispose of their reservations respectively, in whole or in part, to any citizen or citizens of the United States, whenever, and however they may choose; and for these rights, the Indians on their part, engaged in the same treaty, never to set up any claim to any other lands in the boundaries of the United States, than those guaranteed in that treaty."

The Treaty provides for its own remedies for any breach related to it. It provides that if a breach of the treaty in which any member of the Six Nations is aggrieved that they would make a complaint to the President of the United States (or a Superintendent appointed by the President) and that no private revenge or retaliation shall take place until the legislature of the United States shall make the equitable provision for the purpose of keeping the peace (Article VII).

Although treaties with Indians are read differently then mere conveyances. ("[T]reaties should be construed liberally in favor of the Indians.") (citation omitted); Oregon Dep't of Fish and Wildlife v. Klamath Indian Tribe, 473 U.S. 753, 766 (1985) ("[D]oubts concerning the meaning of a treaty with an Indian tribe should be resolved in favor of the tribe."). At the same time, the Supreme Court has cautioned that "even though legal ambiguities are resolved to the benefit of the Indians, courts cannot ignore plain language [contained in a treaty] that . . . clearly runs counter to a tribe's later claims." Klamath, 473 U.S. at 774 (citation omitted). In other words, courts cannot, "under the guise of [liberal] interpretation, . . . rewrite congressional acts [i.e., treaties] so as to make them mean something they obviously were not intended to mean." Confederated Bands of Ute Indians v. United States, 330 U.S. 169, 179 (1947) (interpreting several treaties between the United States and the Ute Indian tribes). "Indian treaties cannot be re-written or expanded beyond their clear terms to remedy a claimed injustice." Choctaw Nation v. United States, 318 U.S. 423, 432 (1943). At the point in time that this treaty was entered into the intent of the United States was to prevent the Indians from trading with foreign powers not domestic sovereigns from which the federal government was formed.

Based on the aforementioned there was no provision in law or treaty that prohibited the State of New York in purchasing land from the Indians located within its borders prior to 1790 and there were no legal prohibition from 1793 through 1834. Even if any person or governmental entity that was a party to this treaty were aggrieved by a breach thereof its sole remedy was and is a political one not a justiciable one.

To read the briefs before the United States Supreme Court in the matter of the Town of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York Click here!

UCE opposes the proposed settlement of the Indian Land Claims!

UCE opposes these settlements in the terms outlined in the proposed settlement agreements available below. The Governor is offering illusory consideration to settle these land claims. The Governor is offering a Class III casino in the Catskills to the various Indian nations and tribes including the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma whose claim is tenuous at best without including the other parties to the claim. Their claim is tenuous because although some members of this tribe may have indeed came from the Cayuga Indian Nation their tribe was formed by those that left prior to the alleged invalid treaties were entered into. In Strong v. United States, 31 Ind. Cl. Comm 89 at 114, 116, 117 the Indian Claims Commission detailed the separation of the Seneca-Cayugas' ancestors (who are known as Mingoes) from the Six Nations and their migration to Ohio in the mid 1700's as follows: "The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma constitutes the descendants of these Mongoes who were living in Ohio in the 18th century . . . Based upon the record in these proceedings, we believe that by the time of the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty, the Mingoes in Ohio were small, independent bands, no longer politically subservient to the Six Nations of New York. . . [B]eginning shortly before 1750, the Mingoes themselves were asserting their independence from the Six Nations of New York . . . The only conclusion which can be reached from an analysis of the activities of these Mingoes in Ohio during the 18th century is that they constituted independent bands who often acted in concert with other Ohio Indians. Their actions do not support the conclusion that they remained politically affiliated with the Six Nations of New York." It is UCE's position that Class III gambling casino cannot be lawfully offered to the Seneca-Cayugas because the Governor and the Legislature lack constitutional authority to do so. The issue of their authority to enter into tribal-state compacts offering Class III gaming is currently being litigated in the courts in (Warren v. Pataki) and Dalton v. Pataki.

The proposed settlement with the Seneca-Cayugas, like the other proposed settlements, is premised on 7 contingencies which all must be completed by September 1, 2005 unless that deadline is extended by mutual agreement. Of course on of the contingencies is the Class III compact. The proposed settlement with the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York is based in part upon the settlement in the Seneca-Cayuga portion of the claim and is not a true settlement. For detail on the proposed settlement with the Seneca-Cayuga's see Assistant Attorney General Howard L. Zwickel's letter to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals By Clicking here!

Lastly the appeal in the Cayuga land claim litigation has been stayed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit pending the hearing and determination of the United States Supreme Court in Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York which is scheduled to be heard on January 11, 2004. If decided in part or in whole in favor of the Town of Sherrill may dramatically change the legal landscape against the Indian Plaintiffs.

Click here to read UCE's Press Release responding to Congressman Pombo's release announcing his intent to settle the New York Indian land claims!

Click here to read the complaint in the Onondaga Land Claim.

Historian Dr. Francis Hutchins has authored a 511 page report from which one can readily see that history does not support the land claims in New York. Click here to read the report. Try to refute what he has written by posting on the Syracuse.com Land Claim forum. Click here to be taken to the forum.

Click here to read The Separate Dissenting Views of Congressman Lloyd Meeds (D) Wash., Vice Chairman of the American Indian Policy Review Commission

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed Judge Arcara's dismissal of the Seneca Nation's claim to Grand Island!

Click here to read the Grand Island decision!

Click here to read the Thruway decision!

Click here to to see the Seneca Nation of Indians' Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court to review the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmance of the dismissal of their Land Claim to Grand Island.

Click here to to see the United States' opposition to the Seneca Nation of Indians' Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court to review the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmance of the dismissal of their Land Claim to Grand Island.

Click here to to see Erie County and State of New York's opposition to the Seneca Nation of Indians' Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court to review the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmance of the dismissal of their Land Claim to Grand Island.

Click here to read the settlement agreement signed with the Seneca-Cayuga of Oklahoma!

Click here to read the settlement agreement signed with the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York!

Click here to read the settlement agreement signed with the Wisconsin Oneidas!

Click here to read the settlement agreement signed with the Stockbridge Munsees!

Click here to read the settlement agreement signed with the Mohawks!

Click here to read the bill introduced by Governor Pataki to settle most land claims and illegally place 5 casinos in the Catskills!

Governor Pataki wants to gamble on our children's education and now he wants to gamble on the future of those in the Cayuga land claim area.

Click here to see the proposed settlement between the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York and the State of New York in relation to the Cayuga Land Claim.



Below are the Court Dockets of each land claim within the State of New York with their key decisions.

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