Upstate Citizens for Equality, Inc.

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The fundamental issue is sovereignty. UCE adamantly opposes the establishment of an independent, sovereign Cayuga Indian nation within New York State. Nation refers to independent government, "possessing the power of absolute dominion over its territory and people." The U.S. government has restricted Indian tribes' governmental authority. There is no reference to absolute Indian sovereignty in the U.S. Constitution; the tribes are federally recognized as domestic dependent nations.  Indian tribal reservations are federal lands held in trust by U.S. Government. The Supreme Court holds that Indians are U.S. citizens (who vote, receive social services, etc.), and members of an Indian tribe.

Sovereignty, interpreted by the Cayuga Indians, produces major problems:

  • Creation of a separate nation within U.S. boundaries - Indian reservation is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign tribal government

  • Creation of separate, but unequal governmental bodies - a tribal system of services is set up, including court, labor, etc.

  • Establishment of an Indian police force, answerable only to tribal council

  • Increased expenses paid by all NY taxpayers to support services for roads, water, sewer, emergency and fire protection on reservation land  - these can be demanded by the tribe, at taxpayers' expense

  • Removal of land from tax rolls of Cayuga and Seneca counties' communities and school districts, increasing taxes for all taxpayers - Cayuga Indians refuse to pay taxes to New York State

  • Displacement of landowners who feel compelled to leave their property, as willing sellers, rather than reside in the midst of a foreign reservation - this checker boarding by Indians is allowed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in order to create mini reservations

  • Loss of local, state and federal control over the administration of civil and environmental laws that affect pollution, hunting/fishing/gathering, gambling and personal property rights - Indians refuse to respect or enforce our codes/regulations

  • Imposition of unfair business practices in which local, tax-paying businesses are forced to compete with non-taxpaying reservation businesses, immune to local, state, and federal regulations

  • The Cayuga Indians' loss of civil and personal rights, guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and through N.Y. State laws/agencies - Indian Tribal Constitution takes precedence over the U.S. Constitution on reservations.

The creation of a Cayuga Indian reservation is detrimental to Cayuga Indians and the residents of Cayuga and Seneca Counties, the entire State of New York, and the United States of America.  The establishment of a self-proclaimed sovereign nation within the counties and state threaten the very fabric of communities and the freedoms the United States is founded on.

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