Seneca v. NEW YORK STATEMNN. Jan. 16, 2008. The Seneca Nation of the Rotino’shonni:onwe, Iroquois Confederacy, are demanding that the colonial state of New York stop illegally operating an unlawful business on our territory – which is the Interstate Thruway #90. It is an unlawful business on our land. At the same time NYS is trying to destroy a significant part of the Nation’s economy by imposing illegal taxes. They have no jurisdiction over Ongwehonwe or our territories which is all of New York State and beyond. Every inch of Onowaregeh, Turtle Island, is unsurrendered Ongwehonwe territory. The U.S. and Canada are colonies that have no land. They are illegal occupiers.

The trusteeship of the territory in the people is affirmed in the constitution known as the Kaianerehkowa, the Great Law of Peace, which is the true law of the land.

The Seneca Nation and New York State clashed back in 1992 and 1997 leading to civil unrest in the local Seneca communities of Allegheny and Cattaraugus. With a February 13th 2009 deadline looming for collection of taxes on cigarettes sold to Ongwehonwe communities by wholesalers, the Seneca Nation is preparing for another clash with NYS. Speaking for the Seneca of the “Western Door”, Barry Snyder says the people will take any action necessary to protect its people, economy and way of life. In the 1997 clash NYS spent $30 million to bring in heavily armed troopers and tactical squads into our communities. Physical assaults were committed against women, children and men. [Shades of Palestine!] Thruway #90 was closed. Tires were burnt. Charges were laid against some of our people. Then NYS Gov. George Pataki backed off and rescinded any enforcement efforts to collect NYS taxes or impose tax law on us and our land.

The Senecas are now devising a system to collect tolls on the NYS Thruway through Irving. People are being urged to stockpile basic needs. Up to $1 million of Seneca money is being set aside for emergency response. And the Seneca are petitioning U.S. President Obama for federal protection from NY State and respect for our jurisdiction.

To be legal the Thruway requires a license from the Seneca Nation whose territory it’s on. Billions of dollars that should be going to the Seneca are being poured into NYS’s economy. The landowners get nothing. In response to the latest affront to our sovereignty, on April 14, 2007 the Seneca rescinded the 1954 agreement with NYS to use Nation territory for its highway. Outstanding is the compensation for past land use which NYS refuses to pay. Since May 12, 2007, $1 has been assessed on each motorist using the Thruway, leaving NYS $20,247,557 in arrears.

As if that’s not bad enough, to put pressure on us to submit, NYS is once again taking illegal actions to impose an embargo on tobacco products. This is a direct threat to the people who are recovering from the economic devastation imposed on us by the state and federal governments. Since Sullivan destroyed the agricultural industry of the Rotino’shonni:onwe, tobacco has been one of the most successful economic endeavors of our people. It has emerged from our traditional cultivation, trade and commerce traditions. Our people have every right to take all actions necessary to protect and defend our freedom, economy and unsurrendered sovereignty and territories.

The $1 million being set aside for “emergency response personnel” is to provide access to medical care, ensure that children get to school, and that all residents can go about their daily lives without interference. People are stockpiling everything. The history of our relations with NYS has been troubled from the start. NYS has tried to interfere with our treaty rights to tax-free commerce twice in the last few years. The only responsible approach is to protect our people by preparing for the worst.

The people have instructed their Planning Department to build a system to collect tolls on the New York State Thruway. The Seneca also intend to increase the current per-car toll to $2. They also filed an action in the Seneca tribal courts to declare that the Thruway is an illegal invasion of sovereign Seneca territory.

The Seneca are asking U.S. President Obama to respect the provisions of the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794 to provide protection for the Seneca from the crimes being committed against us by NYS. Obama probably does not know the history of our relationship with the British and U.S. invaders. We never agreed to become British subjects, or NYS or U.S. citizens. Our relations have been highly irregular especially since the American Revolution of 1776. It’s time to stop the abuse and set things right.

On December 15, 2008 NYS Gov. David A. Paterson illegally signed a law to subjugate the commerce of all Ongwehonwe communities under the authority of NYS. We don’t know what theory of legality he is operating on. You can be sure it’s not based on human equality or the principles set out in international law and the U.S. Constitution, for that matter. NYS would never abide by Canadian laws if Canada ever chose to colonize New York. By a temporary order of State Supreme Court Justice Rose Sconiers, his law cannot be enforced. A hearing is set for January 27, 2009 to decide whether a permanent injunction should be issued against NYS to stop it from implementing illegal policies.

The actions by NYS Gov. Paterson look like a deliberate attempt to fuel anti-Ongwehonwe sentiment. He is drawing a line where none should be. He is refusing to respect legitimate Ongwehonwe jurisdiction and boundaries. There’s no sign that NYS intends to respect the law. NYS is on a collision course as before. NYS should know by now that the Seneca will not stand down. We will unite and fight for the right to support our families and to protect our homes and territories. [Send your comments to]

Karakwine, MNN Mohawk Nation News Staff,

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