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http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/home/ … 82824.html
Seneca to file human rights and hate crime violations against NY Mayor Bloomberg
By Gale Courey Toensing
Story Published: Aug 18, 2010
Story Updated: Aug 18, 2010
IRVING, N.Y. – The Seneca Nation council has authorized the nation’s president to file a human rights violation and a hate crime complaint with local, state and international bodies against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for making “derogatory racial statements” against the nation and its citizens.
Council member J.C. Seneca put a resolution called “Condemning Statements of Mayor Bloomberg” before the council Aug. 14 regarding comments the mayor made in an interview Aug. 13 with New York Daily News.
“In his remarks, Mayor Bloomberg included derogatory racial statements, against the Seneca Nation and its members, including a statement encouraging (New York Gov. David Paterson) to, ‘you know, get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun’ and to commence an armed occupation of the nation’s Cattaraugus Territory for the purpose of making a video of the governor standing on the NYS Thruway with said cowboy hat and shotgun,” the resolution says.
Seneca’s resolution said the mayor’s remarks disparaged the Seneca Nation’s “treaty protected tobacco economy.”
As the Daily News described the interview, “Mayor Bloomberg, channeling his inner Wyatt Earp, shot himself in the foot Friday.”
“I’ve said this to David Paterson. … If there’s ever a great video, it’s you standing in the middle of the New York State Thruway saying, you know, ‘Read my lips – the law of the land is this, and we’re going to enforce the law.’”
The tough-talking mayor, who has long exhorted Paterson collect taxes on cigarettes sold on sovereign Indian land was again encouraging Paterson to get tough on collecting taxes from the Indian nations whose territories are contiguous to or surrounded by New York state.
The response from the Seneca Nation followed swiftly with a statement from President Barry E. Snyder Sr.
“It’s obvious Mayor Bloomberg is supportive of religious freedoms and not sovereign rights,” Snyder said, referring to a controversy over plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque near the site of the destroyed World Trade buildings.
“It’s precisely this kind of cavalier attitude that has led to the past breaking of treaties by various federal and state governments. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg could use a refresher course on the U.S. Constitution and the need to honor Indian treaties,” Snyder wrote.
“As an elected leader sworn to uphold all laws of the land, does he feel he has the right to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution he favors because of his clearly biased beliefs? Regrettably Mayor Bloomberg has made some reckless and insensitive statements to the people of the Seneca Nation, all Native Americans living in New York state and throughout the country.”
Asked to comment on Snyder’s charges that the mayor had made “biased. … reckless and insensitive, Bloomberg’s press secretary Stu Loeser said, “These arguments have nothing to do with the federal law, which applies to tribes.”
It was not clear which federal law Loeser referred to.
The Seneca resolution authorizes Snyder to file a complaint alleging a human rights violation and a hate crime with the New York City and New York State Human Rights Commissions, the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples.
“Bloomberg’s cavalier attitude and inflammatory remarks, by which he encourages armed conflict as a means for resolution, evidences tremendous disrespect to those nation members and New York State Police officers who, to this day, bear the scars and trauma of the actual – not hypothetical – conflict that has twice occurred on the nation’s territory, is considered by the council to be a hate crime and violation of human rights,” the resolution said.
It also contrasts Bloomberg’s position of support for religious freedom and the building of the Muslim community center and mosque with his attitude toward Indian nations.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s contradictory positions regarding the constitutional protections afforded to those involved in the Islamic Center and Mosque, versus those afforded to the nation and its members, are demonstrative of the continued ignorance of the nation’s own constitutionally protected treaties as the supreme law of the land, which provide the underlying protections for the nation’s tax immune status on which its economy is based,” the resolution states.
The resolution says Bloomberg’s “hypocritical” support of constitutional protections only occurs if the protections don’t impact the city budget.
That hypocrisy, “coupled with his uneducated and uninformed statements on the issue, serve to fan the flames of aggression, and undermine the potential for peaceful resolution of these matters, while perpetuating a long dormant policy of Indian termination which dates back to the days of General Custer’s failed Battle of Little Bighorn, the resolution says.
Based on Bloomberg’s “inflammatory and racially insensitive” remarks, the resolution calls on the mayor to resign immediately or to issue a formal written apology to the Seneca Nation and its citizens that provides evidence of his “tolerance and respect” for the nation’s treaties.
It also calls on Paterson to publically condemn and distance himself from the mayor and his comments.
http://www.timesunion.com/local/article … 620900.php
Tribes unite to fight cigarette tax plan
By JAMES M. ODATO Capitol Bureau
Published: 05:03 p.m., Wednesday, August 18, 2010
ALBANY -- In what was billed as a historic coming together of elected and traditional chiefs of the Native American nations of upstate New York, the Iroquois Confederacy issued a unified message opposing the Paterson administration's planned implementation of a tax policy requiring state collections on cigarettes sold by Indian stores.
About 100 chiefs, tribal council representatives and officials from all of the entrepreneurial and traditional -- or "longhouse" -- factions met at a Rochester Institute for Technology conference center much of Wednesday to plan the statement, and the next course of opposition. Their message challenges the "foreign nation" of New York from further trying to erode sovereignty of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Tuscarora and Seneca people.
The statement is meant for the state Legislature and Gov. David Paterson. The meeting was held on the extreme edge of ancestral Seneca territory; the representatives of the tribes all took part, with Oneida representative Ray Halbritter, Seneca President Barry Snyder and Onondaga leader Sydney Hill -- known as the Tadodaho or spiritual leader of the Haudenesaunee confederacy -- giving press statements.
The action comes on the heels of the Senecas on Tuesday filing suit against Paterson, Acting Tax Commissioner Jamie Woodward and the State Police to block enforcement of the new collection plan.
The statement that came out of Wednesday's session said the six-nation confederacy agreed to "reaffirm the ancient unity of the Haudenosaunee" with the common goal of defending treaty-protected sovereign rights to the free use and enjoyment of what the tribes jointly identified as "our" land.
The statement said that foreign governments, based on treaties dating hundreds of years, cannot intrude or interfere in the commerce on the Indian territories.
The leaders said the "latest attempt" to damage sovereignty involves the attempts to collect taxes on cigarette products.
Seneca Council Chairman Richard Nephew said the tax policy is misguided and threatens Indian economies.
New York's politicians, he said, are "trying to use the Indian nations of New York as scapegoats to get out of their decades of fiscal mismanagement. As leaders, our job is to try every means as necessary to keep the peace at home. Our people are angry.
Tribal representatives said it was the first meeting of all six nations' leaders in many decades.
Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco-Free New York, said the U.S. Supreme Court has given states the right to collect taxes on Indian cigarette sales. He hopes the Paterson administration continues its push to enforce New York tax policy as planned starting Sept. 1.
"I can understand that the Indians have a long history of being victimized by the white man and white man's government, and they have a number of gripes with New York state. But I look at this as a public health issue: They are selling cigarettes, facilitating tax evasion, and it causes death and disease on a massive scale," Sciandra said.
The tribes say their governments and reservation businesses rely on the ability to sell cigarettes based on internal controls and policies. External regulations such as those the state proposes, they claim, will ruin those structures and threaten thousands of jobs.
The regulations set to go into effect next month call for wholesalers to certify that they deliver products with tax stamps on them -- a development that will result in a greater cost to Indian recipients of cigarettes. Tribal stores have long sold name-brand cigarettes well below the off-reservation prices. The state tax policy would not require taxation of cigarettes made by manufacturing businesses located on the reservation, and such off-brand products could continue to be sold at drastically lower prices.