Seneca Falls – In response to reports that the Cayuga Indian Nation is acquiring 205 acres in Cayuga and Seneca Counties, New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette) announced that he is fighting efforts by the Cayugas 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.
“By applying to the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to put their land into federal trust, the Cayuga Indian Nation continues to look 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.”
“This issue is too critical for the future of our region and I am urging Congressman-elect Michael Arcuri, Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Hillary Clinton to voice their opposition to the attempts of the Cayuga tribe to put their land into federal holding and continue to not pay taxes,” continued Nozzolio.
Senator Nozzolio has contacted Patrick Ragsdale, Director of the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, to call upon him to reject any application from the Cayugas to place land into Federal Trust. Senator Nozzolio is also 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 am calling for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to reject any application from the Cayugas,” concluded Nozzolio.
Attached is Senator Nozzolio’s letter to the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in opposition to the Cayuga application.
December 20, 2006
Patrick Ragsdale, Director
Federal Bureau for Indian Affairs
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Director Ragsdale:
In light of reports that the Cayuga Indian Nation will be applying to place recent real estate acquisitions in New York State into federal trust, I am again respectfully calling for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to reject any application from the Cayuga tribe.
The Supreme Court decision in The City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York stated that the Oneida Indian tribe must pay property taxes and obey local laws on former ancestral land they have reacquired. The Court was very clear in their decision, ruling that a tribe cannot re-acquire property that they left 200 years ago and then claim sovereign status for the property.
As the Sherrill case undermined their claim to sovereignty, the Cayugas have applied to put their land in trust with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and make their real estate holdings permanently sovereign and tax-free.
As the State Senator representing constituents in the land claim area, I am adamantly opposed to this. After reading the Supreme Court decision, I strongly believe that the law is clear: Indian tribes must pay property taxes like any other business venture making money in New York. If these tribes continue to buy land, they should be treated like any other land developer and they should pay taxes.
Again, I respectfully request that the Bureau of Indian Affairs reject applications from the Cayuga Indian Nation to put their land into a federal trust.