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The Iroquois Are Not Giving Up

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posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 04:13 PM
The Iroquois are Not Giving UP

I just came across this article, linked above, that is a rare piece about current Native American activism. I've been interested in the Iroquois for some time now as they are native to my region, have a great history, and are one of the more politically active tribes.

I wonder what people think about Native American land claims?

In recent weeks Iroquois leaders met with the Dutch consul to commemorate the 400th anniversary of a 1613 treaty. The meeting occurred in Manhattan where they gave friendly fuzzy quotes to reporters and smoked a peace pipe.

But there was also a political message being promoted by the Iroquois. In the 13 days before the meeting they paddled the Hudson River and stopped along the way for daily cultural events. They seem to be developing a new strategy of quasi campaigning because legal recourse has proved unsuccessful.

"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."

What are the chances that there could be popular support for this type of thing? It's a long shot, but not out of the question. Those in America that side with the trend of liberalism might be sympathetic and support major land grants.

The Iroquois, like many other tribes, have claimed millions of acres of land.

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.

Here's a NYTimes article from 2000:

Battle Over Iroquois Land Claim

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.

These claims obviously failed. In the article linked at the top, it gives the legal precedent for denying all land claims and frankly I find this pretty obnoxious.

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.

So it's US law that Europeans have lands rights everywhere because Pope Nicholas said so in 1452. Sounds fair.

That's the type of thing that could enrage the masses and get them to concede some land.

All in all, I say good for the Iroquois. At some point America has to have an honest look in the mirror about our history and go through all of the baggage so that we can move on with legitimate conflict resolution that reflects the higher morality that we claim to have in the modern world. Native American activism can help us do this and everyone can benefit from a serious historical reflection.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 04:25 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

Great post. I wish all the Native Americans would join them in this fight. The people were robbed, murdered and subjugated, told they have no recourse because of a long dead freaking Pope and a corrupt judicial body. Surprised they haven't actually declared war on the invaders.

I've said this before (and took some heat for it) but I'll say it again anyway, Native Americans should have sunk every European ship within bow shot range of the beach.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 04:32 PM
reply to post by Bassago

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about it because I'm not sure how reliable the history is. One of the areas I am very conspiratorial about is the colonization of America, the country's founding, and relationships with Native Americans. I just have the feeling that there is a major untold side of the story.

With that said, if taken at face value I side with the tribes. I think they should get land.

Regardless, I think it is a subject that is way under discussed and any thinking about it is productive.

I was honestly expecting more people who respond in opposition to land claims than in favor. I'm more on your side of it but let's see what most people think.
edit on 8/17/2013 by PatrickGarrow17 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 04:38 PM
I guess Britain and France need to concede their land back to the Celtic peoples and the Slavs and Eastern Europeans need to concede land back to the Germanics. And the many people of Asia need to concede land back to those they displaced centuries ago. Same with African tribes and much of the Middle East.
Any rational view of history concedes that history is a story of groups of people displacing other groups of people. Including what Native Americans did to each other before the European invasion.

The Iriquois went down pretty quietly, easily, and some might say with consent. I honestly have more respect for groups like the Seminole, Comanche, Creek, Apache, and Sioux, who at least put up a solid fight.

Lots of blood, sweat, courage, heart, and soul went into establishing, building, and retaining this nation. To give it up out of some faux-compassion, narcissistic, manufactured guilt would be folly.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 04:42 PM
reply to post by pierregustavetoutant

I think it is a somewhat different case when a lot of the Native American land claims can be argued with documentation and the displacement happened in the age of contracts, unlike the examples you gave.

And, sounds to me like you don't know much about Iroquois history. They were as powerful as anyone and probably the most politically astute tribe on the continent.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 04:42 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

This has always been an under told story. Most Americans just can't face this issue. It's worse than talking about slavery, in many ways it is about genocide and that's just not something people here can or want to deal with.

My grandparent's and mother were from Europe but it still steams me to think what was done in the name of greed and control. If the Pope's would have had their way the Middle East would have been crushed and consumed during the Crusades big land grabs as well. To people like that the words blasphemer and heathen mean the same. Destroy them all and steal everything not nailed down.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 05:00 PM
Awesome thread, sad topic. I knew most treaties signed by the US government and various tribes have yet to be honored but this is a much different thing it seems. If the land was by adoption of law the property of the Dutch and the Dutch had treaty with the Iroquois so that it became theirs it seems that all that land should indeed belong to the Iroquois. And has been American custom we will recognize tribal land up and until we need it for something. Case in point, the pipeline that our government is trying to seize via eminent domain from different tribes when by all rights tribal land should be exempt from US law.

It's their land and should be given back, even if it means relocating cities and people.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 05:06 PM
reply to post by Bassago

Native Americans should have sunk every European ship within bow shot range of the beach.

Agreed. However, they were the technologically inferior culture between the two, and they lost. Just like every other war.

Were they treated fairly? No. Not even close. They weren't treated any worse then the slaves brought over from Africa. I think it is time to become part of the melting pot. That doesn't mean you can't have your own culture and observe it, but, I believe this is silliness.


To make my case (please don't think I am comparing the two, it is just an analogy),
Did you check with the animals that lived on the land where you built your house to see if it was okay? If they minded moving?

Again, I have to say this for the slow minded, I am not saying Natives are/were animals. I am merely pointing out a hypocrisy.

edit on 17-8-2013 by superman2012 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 05:17 PM
Native land interests were protected in North America by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
It is still arguably valid in Canada. It was replaced in the USA by the Indian Intercourse Act of 1790 after US Independence. It protected Indian land interests from purchases from anyone except by treaty with the USA and identified Indian Territories west of the Mississippi.
A lot of the Iroquois concern is about the USA not honoring treaties the Iroquois made with the Dutch prior to British occupation.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 05:23 PM
reply to post by superman2012

Except they didn't legally lose, they agreed and the US government agreed to stop fighting, thus the treaties, most of which weren't honored. There's a huge difference between that and losing a war.
edit on 17-8-2013 by Kali74 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 05:53 PM
reply to post by Kali74

The US also gave many Nazi's a free pass if they worked with them. Since when did the average person expect their government to live up to its promises?

I'm not saying they weren't treated horribly, I'm just saying it is 2013. Live to choose.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:03 PM
reply to post by superman2012

Not he same thing as a treaty.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:16 PM

Originally posted by Kali74

It's their land and should be given back, even if it means relocating cities and people.

Well, lets not forget what land meant to the Indians that resided there.

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].

Indian Land Claims

The Feds have changed the Laws, as they go. No way these lands will be given back. Its a truth people need to get used to. NO World Court will give it to them either.

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.

Disruption and Impossibility: The Unfortunate Resolution of the Iroquois Land Claims in Federal Courts

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:24 PM
reply to post by Kali74

Okay. I get that. Although both the "white men" and the "indians" thought they were "putting one over" on eachother when they made the treaty.

The "Indians" knew and believed that no one could own the land.

The "White men" knew that someone could own the land.

Again, the technologically superior won.

Treated well? Hell no.
Fair? Hell no.

Life isn't fair.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:34 PM
reply to post by superman2012

There is NO WAY these lands will be given up. Period.

Its sad, but claims like this will never be fair, or end up in any Court that will favor the victims. Same with ALL aboriginal peoples everywhere.

A smart tribe would take the Casinos, and small parcels of land. I know, its sad to even think like that. They stand a better chance at making money, and maybe buy surrounding land around them. I wont even factor the greed aspect, after they see the amount of money that a casino can generate. Many Reservations are still in the same mess they were in 50 years ago, even after the Casinos.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:37 PM
These tribes were the basis of our government. The Iroquois are descendants of a very great people.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:39 PM
reply to post by superman2012

At some point our culture should attempt to move to a better mentality than that of conqueror, and to a point this process is happening but there is still hypocrisy in the common view. It would be seen as unforgivable if the US government decided to take over the Navajo reservation today. So, why was it not unforgivable to do essentially the same thing 150 years ago?

We can choose one of two ways of thought regarding this issue:

One is that we rightfully defeated the Natives, we conquered them, they can suck it up and be happy that they have what they do. Conquering another people is okay. To people who say this, at least they are honest.

The second is that conquering another people is wrong. Nations should not aggressively expand into the territories of others. Therefore it was also wrong whenever it occurred in the past and the victims should have sympathy and possibly compensation.

A third type of thinking, which I think is the common paradigm, is a hypocritical mixture of the two: Conquering another people is wrong, military power should be used only in defense, BUT those who were conquered in the past deserve no special treatment or concession. This is not an intellectually honest position and is not an option if we want to be the society of higher ethic than the past that we claim to be. Because if we do take the enlightened position that conquering is wrong then we also must see that much of the current power structure was built on such crimes and some reorganization, reform, or even just simple admission is necessary.

We can be conquerors or peace-makers- but not conquerors pretending to be peace makers.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:43 PM

Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
These tribes were the basis of our government. The Iroquois are descendants of a very great people.


Its a shame our Countries forefathers in their ignorance, destroyed almost all of the culture they willingly provided.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:45 PM
reply to post by sonnny1

Honestly, I see what the Iroquois are doing a shrewd acceptance that they will not succeed on land claims. Instead, I think they might be attempting to integrate themselves into mainstream American politics. I think this could be profitable, in this liberal-media trending society I bet there'd be a major market for a Native American perspective.

I said in a prior post that the Iroquois were politically astute and another post alluded to this as well. Their confederacy was an influential precursor to the colonies unifying and some Iroquois were present at the Albany Conference when the union was first thought to have been proposed in the 1750's.

I would love to see a tribe accept their situation and start the process of carving out a niche in the American politic, potentially creating a new industry for the tribes to supplement casinos. The Iroquois, given their tradition, are the perfect tribe to start what could be a great movement in America.

posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:50 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

I honestly wish them the Best of Luck.

The only problem I really see is the vast amounts of Money, Politics requires......

Which is another sad problem in itself, hey?

Great thread BTW.

Stars and Flags earned......

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