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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

From the Oneida Daily Dispatch:

Senator drafting bill to clearly define sovereignty

By: ELIZABETH RINALDO, Dispatch Staff Writer 10/18/2003

VERNON -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called the Oneida Indian land claim issue a "dark cloud hanging over our heads" at the Greater Oneida Chamber of Commerce banquet Friday night.

"I'm fed up," Schumer said. "We need to lift that cloud, and we need to do it once and for all. They can't hide behind sovereignty, using that as an excuse not to collect taxes and not to obey zoning laws," Schumer said. "You can't create a whole new nation within a county or a town. We've got to find a way to stop it. It worked fine out west where there is a lot of open land, it doesn't work in the middle of an urban area. We can't have two sets of laws right next to each other."

Schumer told the audience that he was working on legislation to remedy that, as well as legislation to stop the Cayuga-Seneca Indians of Wisconsin from building a bingo hall in New York State.

"I'm for gambling if the community is for it," Schumer said. "But I'm not for it if the community does not want it."

Schumer said that the problem of sovereign nations does not exist only in New York, and that he is willing to address the issue head-on.

"I'm willing to take a stand," he said. "I'm willing to do it the right way."

©The Oneida Daily Dispatch 2003


Reader Opinions
Post your opinion and share your thoughts with other readers!

Name: Ray Cook
Date: Oct, 20 2003

Schumer went out on the limb when he claims that he and other Senators can draft legislation defining Sovereignty for Tribes. He is taking advantage of an issue that is very charged with emotion in this area of NY. The Senator should know by now that Sovereignty is already defined and that the Oneida Nation is not a recent phenomenon, the Nation has been around long before Oneida and Madison counties were created in the middle of Oneida Nation borders.

In the end, if the counties and state cannot pay the rent then they need to vacate the premises and stop trying to destroy a nation that has been around for a thousand years and was a great ally of these young united states. Honest, Mr. Senator, is the best policy.

Rob's comment
As Cook correctly noted, circumstances aren't creating an Indian nation in the middle of a non-Indian county. Circumstances created a non-Indian county around an Indian nation. If white people didn't want to coexist with Indians, they should've moved elsewhere. The Indians were there first.

"We can't have two sets of laws right next to each other," says Schumer. But that kind of situation happens all the time. A neighborhood is split between two towns. A town is split between two counties or states. A lake or an island is split between two states or countries. Etc.

One locality, two sets of lawsóright next to each other. It takes some accommodating, and maybe some problems arise, but people deal with them. Again, this kind of situation occurs in many locations. If other people can deal with it, so can Schumer and his New Yorkers.

Related links
The facts about tribal sovereignty
The facts about Indian gaming

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