New York county sends Oneida Nation settlement principles

The Oneida Nation of New York and several cities and counties have been involved in litigation and disputes stretching over decades. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on various aspects of these disputes in 1975, 1985, and 2005.

The press reports that the Madison County Board of Supervisors has mailed the Oneida Nation a letter outlining nine “principles of settlement” proposed to begin new negotiations.

“Let’s talk government-to-government,” the letter said. . . . The county asked the Nation to address each specifically, calling on the OIN to clarify where it can and cannot compromise. . . .

Madison County asked the Nation to specifically consider the following:

• Land put into federal trust must be compact and within recognizable boundaries; other tribal-owned land would be taxable and under the jurisdiction of local and state governments.

• All unpaid taxes and assessments — including penalties and interest — be paid before land is taken into trust.

• The OIN enter into service agreements for all services on OIN land.

• The Nation follow building, fire, public safety and environmental codes that meet or exceed New York state and local laws.

• Local schools and governments be compensated for loss of property taxes.

• The Turning Stone Casino compact with the state be renegotiated.

• The issue of collecting tax on sales to non-Indians be resolved.

• Resolution on issues be finalized before the establishment of land into trust.

• All agreements be disputable and enforceable in state and federal courts.
. . . . . .
[A tribal spokesman] disputed the county’s claim that they have been willing to negotiate in the past, pointing to attempts at reaching an agreement with Oneida County, saying Madison County refused to negotiate.

“The county’s principles are not principles at all; they are demands for Nation concessions on issues that the county has lost in court and at the Department of Interior, or which are not Madison County issues,” Emery said. . . . .”

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