Six nations discuss ways to resist state intrusion

Representatives from all six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy emerged from a daylong conference here Wednesday to say they are forming a united front to resist state encroachment on their treaty rights.

The participants offered no specifics about the options they might employ to counter state attempts to tax cigarettes sold on reservation land and restrict their commerce in other ways—aside from the lawsuits the nations already have filed on their own.

For example, the Seneca Nation this week filed a complaint in U. S. District Court in Western New York challenging the underpinnings of the state’s plan to start collecting cigarette taxes from the tribes starting Sept. 1.

In response to a question from reporters about whether the violent confrontations of past years would be repeated on the interstate highways, Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. said, “I will do my darnedest to make sure there is peace” on the Seneca Nation territories in Western New York.
The Senecas helped organize the rare conference that drew together all six nations of the Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee, and the participants preferred to highlight the historic nature of their assembly, in the Rochester Institute of Technology Inn and Conference Center.

In a statement announcing their purpose, the participants said they “came together to reaffirm the ancient unity of the Haudenosaunee and with the common goal of defending our treaty-protected sovereign right to the free use and enjoyment of our lands . . . ”

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