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News stories tagged with "sovereignty"

Seneca president Robert Odawi Porter displays the historic cloth Tuesday.  [photo by Chris Caya]
Seneca president Robert Odawi Porter displays the historic cloth Tuesday. [photo by Chris Caya]

Senecas reassert sovereignty; Cuomo eyes gambling

Seneca Nation president Robert Odawi Porter is using an historic piece of cloth to deliver a message to New York State about native sovereignty. He said payment of the cloth and a small sum according to an 18th century treaty symbolizes native nations' freedom from state taxation and right to land.

The history lesson came on the same day that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he is considering legalizing gambling in New York. That would have a profound effect on native nations and tribes around the state who rely on their casinos for revenue. Martha Foley and Dave Bullard report.  Go to full article
The shuttered Cornwall Island checkpoint
The shuttered Cornwall Island checkpoint

Canada delays Cornwall checkpoint decision

The temporary border checkpoint in Cornwall will remain in place another year. Canada had said it wanted a permanent solution by now. The port of entry was moved last year when Akwesasne Mohawks protested border officers being armed. As David Sommerstein reports, a return to the original checkpoint on Cornwall Island seems unlikely.  Go to full article

Mohawks prefer diplomacy in tobacco tax fight

Last year, Governor Paterson signed into law a bill that would enforce collection of state tobacco taxes when non-natives buy cigarettes at native-owned stores. Albany estimates up to 400 million dollars a year in taxes are going uncollected. But like his three predecessors, Paterson's administration said last week it will not try to collect the taxes. Remember when the Seneca Nation burned tires on the Thruway when then-Governor George Pataki tried to collect them? The whole issue is knotted up in lawsuits. New York City is suing a Long Island tribe. Two counties are suing the Cayuga Nation. The rulings could set precedents in the now cloudy case of tobacco taxes and native tribes. Jim Ransom says there's an easy solution - sit down and talk. Ransom is chief of the St. Regis Mohawk tribe in Akwesasne. The Mohawks are at odds with New York State over three issues - the cigarette taxes, land claims in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, and building a casino in the Catskills. Ransom says one agreement can resolve them all.  Go to full article

Border closure frustrates Cornwall

The impasse at the border near Massena is almost three weeks old. The international crossing remains closed to almost all traffic. Neither Canada nor the Mohawks are showing any signs of giving an inch in their dispute over the arming of customs officers on Cornwall Island. The customs station is located on sovereign Mohawk territory. Across the St. Lawrence River in the city of Cornwall, people are getting fed up, mostly with their own federal government. David Sommerstein spoke with Bill Kingston, assistant news director at Cornwall radio station AM 1220.  Go to full article
This was all the public - and reporters - could see of the Mohawks' protest on Cornwall Island.
This was all the public - and reporters - could see of the Mohawks' protest on Cornwall Island.

Canada, Mohawks dig in heels at Cornwall border

The international bridge between Massena and Cornwall, Ontario has been closed for more than two days now. And the stand-off between Akwesasne Mohawks and the Canadian government continues. The Mohawks are peacefully protesting Canada's new policy of arming their customs officers. The policy was to have taken effect on Monday. But the officers closed the border crossing on Cornwall Island the night before, saying they didn't feel safe. As David Sommerstein reports, neither side appears ready to budge.

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Mohawks protest; Canada closes border, bridge at Cornwall

The international bridge at Cornwall Island remains closed in both directions this afternoon as Mohawks protest the arming of Canadian customs officers. Canadian customs officers abandoned their posts late last night after informal talks between the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the Canadian Border Services Agency yielded no results. Tribal spokesman Brandon White says the Mohawks are not blockading the bridge. He says it was the customs officers who closed the crossing. This confrontation has been brewing since Canada announced it would arm its border agents beginning today. CBC TV reporter Amanda Pfeffer was on Cornwall Island today. She spoke with David Sommerstein about what she saw and heard.  Go to full article

Locals Speak Out Against Land Claim Deal

The St. Lawrence County legislature is expected to oppose a proposed settlement of the 22-year old Mohawk land claim. Legislators complain they weren't consulted before the deal was made public. At a finance committee meeting last night, lawmakers put off taking formal action against the deal. According to the Watertown Daily Times, the full Board will consider a resolution and a list of concerns about the settlement on Monday.
The agreement between three Mohawk councils and Governor Pataki still must be approved by tribal members by referendum on November 27th. The leaders of towns in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties that would be affected by the settlement are also speaking out. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

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