Albany – As part of his on-going aggressive efforts to ensure area Indian tribes pay property and sales taxes, New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette) today announced that he is fighting any efforts by the Cayuga Indian Nation and the Seneca-Cayuga tribe of Oklahoma to place their real estate holdings into a federal trust. Any land placed into a federal trust is permanently made sovereign and free from taxation.
Senator Nozzolio is calling for federal representatives Boehlert, Schumer and Clinton to join him in opposing any efforts to impose a tax free reservation for the Cayuga Indian Nation or Seneca-Cayuga tribe of Oklahoma. In addition, Nozzolio urged local officials to contact the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and their federal representatives to voice their opposition.
In the wake of the recent landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that the Oneida Indian tribe must pay taxes on their property in the City of Sherrill, Indian tribes in the region are now attempting to put their land into federal trust.
“By applying to the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to put their land into federal trust, the Indian tribes in our region are looking for back-door sovereignty after their unfavorable decision in the City of Sherrill case” said Senator Nozzolio. “The City of Sherrill decision was clear: Indian tribes cannot purchase land that they left 200 years ago and claim it as sovereign land. Taxes must be paid on Indian property and should be collected by the State immediately.”
“This issue is too critical for the future of our region and I am urging Congressman Boehlert, Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton to voice their opposition to the attempts of the tribes in our region to put their land into federal holding and continue to not pay taxes,” continued Nozzolio.
Senator Nozzolio has called for the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to reject any application from the Cayuga Indian Nation and the Seneca-Cayugas of Oklahoma and is urging local officials to contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs to voice their opposition.
“The Indian tribes’ attempts to gain this federal designation are a blatant attempt to undermine the ruling delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court. As the State Senator representing the land claim area, I have contacted Pat Ragsdale, Director of the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, to voice my strong opposition and am calling for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to reject any application from the Cayugas and Seneca-Cayugas of Oklahoma,” concluded Nozzolio.
The Supreme Court decision stated that Indian tribes must pay property taxes and obey local laws on former ancestral lands they have reacquired. In the ruling, Justice Ruth Ginsburg stated:
“Given…long delay in seeking judicial relief against parties other than the United States, we hold that the Tribe cannot unilaterally revive its ancient sovereignty, in whole or in part, over the parcels at issue. (The Tribe)…long ago relinquished the reins of government and cannot regain them through open-market purchases from current titleholders.”