SHOWDOWN AT THE “WESTERN DOOR”: SENECA V. NEW YORK STATE
MNN. Jan. 16, 2009. 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
Ongwehone 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Pataki backed off and rescinded any enforcement efforts to collect NYS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April 14, 2007 the Seneca rescinded the 1954 agreement with NYS to use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
no 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
On December 15, 2008 NYS Gov. David A. Paterson illegally signed a law
to subjugate the commerce of all Ongwehone 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
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.
Contact: NYS Gov. David A. Paterson 518-474-8390 www.state.ny.us/governor/contact/index.html; [email protected] ; US Dept. Justice [email protected]; European Union email@example.com ; Mohawk Nat Council Chiefs [email protected]; OAS [email protected] ; UN Comm Human Rights [email protected] ; IMF [email protected]; [email protected] ; [email protected]; [email protected] ; [email protected] ;