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"We've just about exhausted our avenues in the U.S. courts," said Todadaho Sid Hill, the spiritual leader of the Iroquois. "We have one more appeal, which is going to be denied, and then we go to the world courts." The language used in publicity materials has been resolute: "The Onondaga will not settle for other methods such as casinos that have been used to resolve other Native American claims,"
"After a judge in Albany dismissed the last case in 2010, we started to ask ourselves: well, what are we going to do now?" said Andy Mager, one of the founders of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, who was helping support the legal battle through public outreach. "Joe Heath, the lead attorney for the Onondaga, then said: 'Maybe what we need is a land rights movement, not a land rights action.' And that got us thinking."
Iroquois land claims before 1988 include the following:
Oneida 1970 – filed a pre-1790 period claim for 5.5 million acres for a 50 mile wide piece of land from Watertown to the Pennsylvania border.
Oneida 1970 – filed a post-1790 period claim for 250,000 acres in Oneida and Madison counties.
Cayuga 1980 – filed a claim for 64,000 acres at the north end of Cayuga Lake.
Mohawk 1982 – filed a claim for 10,500 acres adjoining Akwesasne.
Seneca 1985 – filed a claim for 50 acres of state owned land in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties.
The Oneidas want 250,000 acres of rural New York between Syracuse and Utica. The Cayugas are staking claim to a 64,000-acre wishbone at the northern tip of Cayuga Lake. The Senecas are eyeing the Buffalo bedroom community of Grand Island. And the Mohawks, though distracted by a possible Catskills casino, are asking for various islands and parcels straddling the Canadian border.
For years, these Indian nations, all members of the Iroquois confederation, have demanded the return of vast swaths of land based on treaties dating back to George Washington's administration.
The courts have categorically dismissed the cases and subsequent appeals. Part of the problem with the land rights struggle is the Doctrine of Discovery, which states that European explorers and settlers have superior rights to the land. This doctrine flows from a decree by Pope Nicholas in 1452 to allow the subjugation of "heathen" lands in Africa and the New World. It was adopted by American law in 1823 in the Supreme Court case Johnson vs. McIntosh, and never overturned. Recently, it was used in 2005 as part of a court decision to dismiss an Oneida land case.
Native Americans should have sunk every European ship within bow shot range of the beach.
Originally posted by Kali74
It's their land and should be given back, even if it means relocating cities and people.
Land—and its uses—meant quite different things to American Indians and to white settlers and governments. Still at issue are counterclaims to vast tracts about which there are radically different perceptions about the very nature of land and about a history of tangled treaties, forced resettlement, and drawn-out court cases. In Upstate New York several such instances bedevil the relationship between the Iroquois nations, their neighbors, and the State and Federal governments.
As we have already seen, for the Iroquois and other American Indians, "[Land] is not property, personal or public…[I]ndividuals or groups…have rights to use or extract resources from and within a given territory, although there is no direct ownership of the territory. Instead, the land is held communally, with benefits and burdens shared by all in the society."
Fundamental misunderstanding about these matters shows up in local histories, in accounts in which Indians, used to a code of open hospitality and communal sharing, unsettled the settlers by entering their cabins in search of warmth or food. And a recent town history recalls a family story: "Once an Indian brave came to the cabin and motioned [the man] to follow him. He expected to be killed, but the Indian took him to where he had freshly killed venison and gave some to [him].
In less than five years, the federal appellate courts changed the law so drastically to all but end more than thirty years of modern litigation, reversing years of relative fairness at the district court level. These actions required a fundamental shift in the law of equity: the creation of a new equitable defense for governments against Indian land claims. The first part of this article will give a brief history of the New York land claims, focusing on the Oneida Indian Nation and the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York. While the tribes have been fighting the status of this land since the original agreements were signed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, this article looks to the modern era of land claims in the federal courts. The second part of this article will review how a decision in the Oneida claims case directly informed City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation. The third part will focus on the Cayuga Nation line of cases and how Cayuga Indian Nation of New York v. Pataki changed the fundamental understanding of the equitable defense of laches into a new defense used to defeat tribal land claims. Finally, the fourth part of this article will look closely at the most recent loss, Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, where the court admits the creation of a new equitable defense. This defense, identified as “new laches” or “Indian law laches” is a defense that can prevent even the bringing of a land claim in the courts. The defense is no longer traditional laches, but rather an equitable defense that follows none of the rules of equity, and exists only in federal Indian law.
Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
These tribes were the basis of our government. The Iroquois are descendants of a very great people.