Letters in support of the Seneca tax resisters


The following letters are posted with the permission of the authors, and may not be replicated elsewhere without their permission.


Apr 11/97: from Native American Spiritual & Traditional Awareness Organization
Apr 23/97: from Pacific Human Rights
Apr 25/97: from Holback, Luke, and Giddens families
May 04/97: from Ilze Choi
May 07/97: from Ron Stanford

[S.I.S.I.S. note: The three following letters written to Governor George Pataki on May 20 are reprinted below courtesy of the Mohawk Nation Office - Kahnawake Branch.]

May 20/97: from Asociacion Nacional Indigena Salvadorena (El Salvador)
May 20/97: from League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations
May 20/97: from Fourth World Association of Sweden

May 20/97: from Ron DiNatale

From: Roger D. Freeman Spiritcloud@prodigy.net
Subject: Tax Treaty
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 14:33:32

To the People of all the Soveriegn Nations, how can we stand by and let this government that has stolen the lands that the CREATOR has put in our keeping, allow them to keep taking from our People??? We the members of NASATAO, Native American Spiritual And Traditional Awareness Organization, which is chartered by the State of RI hereby express our total support to the Seneca, Mohawk, And Onandago People in their struggle with this Tax Treaty [illegal]. Any way that we can help please let us know. We are not many but, will help all we can...........Eaglecloud@msn.com

From: "pacific human-rights" pahuri@hotmail.com
Subject: Sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee

April 23 1997

Pacific Human Rights supports the People of the Haudenosaunee as they stand resolved and firm against the dishonourable and illegal aggression of New York State and their police and military presence.

We understand that the Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy are sovereign and that attempts by the United States, Canada or any of their territorial governments will be resisted. We support this assertion of self-determination.

The 1794 Treaty of Canadaigua should be honoured. We encourage all newcomers to North America (Turtle Island) to join us in a process of true reconciliation with the Sovereign Indigenous Nations by steering our path away from colonialism and towards Honour. The governments of Canada and the United States are increasing their attacks against the Human Rights of Indigenous People in recent years. The resilience of the People at Stoney Point and Gustafsen Lake and now the Seneca Territory gives hope that the Human Spirit will continue to embrace Freedom.

Sovereignty and Self-determination are human rights of the Haudenosaunee. Newcomers will do good if we learn to live properly on this Land from such People. We stand with them.

Pacific Human Rights

Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 17:34:02 -0400
To: sovernet-L

Please forward the following message to the New York media, Seneca Nation Reserves and the New York State legislature including Gov. Pataki.

The Holback family of Holiday, Fla
The Luke family of Sarasota, Fla
The Giddens family of Sarasota, Fla

Our family members are deeply saddened and ashamed of the blatant way that the Governor Pataki is violating the treaty with the Seneca tribe. Shame on you Gov. Pataki. When I heard about this horrible injustice that is going on in New York State, it prompted me to go to your homepage to learn what kind of a man you are and what you stand for. I read your acceptance speech and your inaugural address and was disgusted at how many lies you told in your speech. You are violating your own promises to the voters in your state as well as the Seneca Indian Nation by not living up to your promises or honesty and honor. Where is your honor when you violate a treaty that was signed long before your ancestors landed on these shores. Enough is enough. The Native Americans of this country have had enough taken from them and nothing given back in return for the privilage our white ancestors received when aided by Native Americans and allowed to set up housekeeping on these shores. I hold my head down in shame for every bit of white blood that flows through my veins. If I could wash my body free of white blood I would do it. I feel ashamed for my country, my government to allow this injustice to take place. Our entire family wants to protest this tax. The Native American's have their treaty and it should be honored.

Gloria Holback

From: IlzeC@aol.com
Date: Sun, 4 May 1997 09:08:58 (EDT)
To: S.I.S.I.S.

I write to express my support for the Seneca and other Haudenosaunee people in their struggle to resist what amounts to the destruction of their economies. I admire and support Pres. Mike Schindler's courageous resistance to this shameful agreement. He is true leader by acting to protect his people against a bully.

What New York State is doing is a classic example of why state power over reservations is about as bad an idea as putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.

The governor is looking out for the interests of his non-Indian constituents and while doing so has absolutely no sense of responsibility for the consequences on the reservation community. The euphemistically called "agreement" is a "heads I win, tails you lose" type of arrangement for the Senecas.

Seeing how this issue has been handled by the Governor (brutally, with excessive use of force), how the federal government stands by as the states aggressively proceed to destroy Native communities, and how the media, while giving full coverage to any white separatist groups, virtually ignores this far more newsworthy event---all this illuminates the institutionalized racism against Native Americans that imbedded in the American way.

The US, as the most powerful and richest nation on earth, can do what it wants do. However, history will judge it for the genocide on the Native Americans, cultural and physcial, which stains its history forever. Destroying people's economic base, therefore destroying the community is the same as destroying their culture and identity. Forced assimilation, due to economic duress, is a more sophisticated genocidal tactic. And the US has the moral blindness to actually hand out human rights report cards to other countries!

You may forward my letter to the Seneca Nation, the media and the Governor.

Ilze Choi
e-mail: IlzeC@aol.com

Date: Wed, 07 May 1997 00:39:09
To: speaker@assembly.state.ny.us, bragman@assembly.state.ny.us, renolt@assembly.state.ny.us
From: Ron Stanford rstanfor@frontiernet.net
Subject: War with the Senecas

Dear Governor Pataki and State Assemblypersons,

The following words are mine (except for the words, that came from the Internet, that I have included later in this letter) and I do not speak for anyone other than myself.

I am Cherokee, a veteran of Vietnam and a disabled Veteran of Desert Storm. I am also a resident of New York State.

I don't smoke or drink alcohol.

I am a traditionalist and believe that Native Americans should not be using tobacco for recreational purposes or using alcohol. I believe that they should not be involved in the business of gambling. But these are my feelings.

My natural father came from a family of 15 children of which only 3 still live. The rest have passed on due to cancer or alcohol related problems. My adoptive father will not be in this world much longer due to his smoking.

I live in Rochester and therefore it is not economical for me to drive to the nearest Reservation to purchase gasoline at the lower price that the Seneca People charge.

I say all of this so that you know that I have nothing to gain by backing the Seneca People in their war with you and New York State. But I must back the Seneca People in their fight with you because they are a Sovereign Nation and New York State has no right to tell them how to run their Nation.

What I fear is happening is the start of another Wounded Knee situation. Do you remember the Wounded Knee Incident of the 1970's?

This situation between New York and the Seneca Nation also reminds me of another incident a few years back when there was a disagreement over the right of one nation to tax another. I believe it was called the Boston Tea Party. This eventually led to a war.

Being a warrior myself, I know the horrors of war and feel that war should be avoided at all cost.

What price do you place on the life of a Seneca Indian or a State Trooper? I'm sure it is not the value of the tax on a single pack of cigarettes or a gallon of gasoline. But I hear that New York could gain as much as 300 million dollars if they could collect tax from the Indian Nations. I guess that this puts the value of a life somewhere between pennies and 300 million dollars.

I plead with you Mr. Governor to leave the Indians alone.

Does New York try to collect taxes on gasoline or cigarettes that New York residents purchase in Canada or Mexico? Does New York request to audit the books of Canada or Mexico to find out if they are charging New York tax on purchases made by New York residents? Indiana has the lowest gasoline prices between here and Chicago, why aren't you also harassing Indiana to collect tax on their products they sell to New York residents?

Finally there has appeared on the Internet the following words;

From: "silvareid" silvareid@mix-net.net
To: fn-wk@pobox.com
Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 09:12:20
Subject: A Racist Mind - New York State Police

Thought some of you might be interested in just how bad it is in NY and how Racist the White Police are being. This poem is in a toll booth for all to see, the numbers you need to contact are on the end of the posting. This is an issue that is quickly escalating towards violence, any calls you can make would be appreciated.

Thank you


Kahnawake Mohawk Nation Office - Kahnawake Branch
May 5, 1997

This 'poem' came from a toll booth at Silver Creek, New York near Cattaraugus - Seneca Territory:


Yes you are an asshole, it is true
and someday a Trooper will come to get you.
Hold your flag high for all to see.
For soon Marcus Rickard, you will meet me.

I am the Trooper on whose car you stand,
waving your flag in your fat little hand.
Enjoy it now, your defiance and pride,
for nobody, nobody defiles my ride.

I will hunt you down in your teepee or shack,
so don't close your eyes and don't turn your back.
For someday I'll be there, and paybacks are hell,
while you cry for mercy, I'll think it's swell.

So stand on my steed, with your balls of brass,
cuz' soon I'll be shoving that stick up your ass.
And your body I'll dump on the Thruway with glee,
so all of the Troopers can drive over thee!!

(Author unknown)

This is in reference to the April 20th rally in Cattaraugus. There appeared a picture in certain newspapers with a man, Marcus Rickard of the Tuscarora Reservation holding a warrior flag standing on top of a State Trooper car - licence plate 3A39. Major Pedro A. Perez, commander of the State Police in New York, should be made accountable for his men. We are asking you to write the New York State Police and make a complaint regarding this blatant expression of racism on the part of the New York State Police.

New York State Police, Division State Police Headquarters
Phone (518) 457-2180
Fax (518) 783-3298

I as a New York State resident request an investigation be made to find out if what appeared on the Internet is true.

If it is found to be true then I believe that some disciplinary action is necessary. Any State employee who would do something like this should be severely punished.

If it is found that this did not come from a State employee and is only a hoax, then the person responsible for posting this to the Internet should be found and punished for trying to make a bad situation worse. I back the Seneca People but I do not agree with this type of tactic to cause already stressed relations to become worse.

I thank you for listening to my words.

Ron Stanford-DiNatale


May 20, 1997

Governor George E. Pataki
Executive Chamber
State Capital Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Pataki,

I am writing to express our grave concern regarding the May 18 attacks committed by the New York State Police against Haudenosaunee citizens while they were peacefully assembled on private property on the Onondaga Reservation. We respectfully demand that all charges against the 23 individuals in custody be dropped and the members of the police force who carried out violent acts against these people, including Art Montour, be brought to justice.

The brutality that the New York State Police has used against our brother and sister Indians sounds more like what we have experienced under undemocratic death squad governments than what we would expect to happen in a country like the United States. We ask that you use your good judgement and democratic principles in order to provide a safe and just environment for the Haudenosaunee, instead of allowing incidents like those that occurred on May 18 to continue.

We have had a strong relationship with the Iroquois Confederacy for years, and they have come to our aid when our people were being massacred in El Salvador's civil war. We will not stand idly by now and allow a few disgruntled individuals to remove the democratic rights of the Haudenosaunee citizens.


Margarito Orespin Esquino


May 20, 1997

Governor George E. Pataki
Executive Chamber
State Capital Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Pataki,

On behalf of our indigenous constituents throughout the Western Hemisphere, I am writing to urge you to cease human rights violations against members of the Iroquois Confederacy. Specifically, we seek the release of and dismissal of charges against the 23 individual participants who were wrongfully taken into custody during a peaceful victory celebration at Onondaga on May 18, 1997. Moreover, we ask that the police brutality committed against these participants, including Art Montour, be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

We know that the cruel and illegal treatment of the particpants stems from the May 14 New York State Supreme Court ruling that taxing sovereign Haudenosaunee nations is illegal. The bitter few individuals who had lost their bid in the illegal tax agreement called in the New York State Police to commit violent retributions against the winning side, the Haudenosaunee citizenry. The acts surrounding the persecutions against the May 18 participants directly violates the Two Row Wampum and all previous treaties ratified by the United States Government. How is it that these few supposed chiefs have the New York State Police at their service to commit such heinous violations against a peaceful assembly?

The only other situation that draws parallel to the present situation in New York is that of the illegal French Vichy Government existing between 1942 and 1944 under the enforcement of Adolph Hitler's armed forces. Living in a society that espouses democracy prohibits us to stand by silently and to permit the loss of basic human, civil, and treaty rights accorded to our Haudenosaunee relatives.

We ask that you respond to the following questions: 1) Why were individuals peacefully assembled on private property arrested for trespassing? 2) Why was brutality used against numerous individuals including women, children, and elders? 3) How will you prosecute the police officers that carried out these violent acts? and 4) Why was the New York State Police called in to violently dismantle a finding of the court?

We await your answers. In the meantime, be assured that the international and national community will be monitoring the process closely. We ask that you uphold New York's integrity and immediately cease persecution and charges against the Haudenosaunee.

May Mother Earth Endure Her Suffering,

Chief Bill-Redwing Tayac

cc: United States Department of Justice
New York State Police, North Syracuse
Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native People
United Nations Center for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland
U.S. Senate Select Committee for Indian Affairs


To: George Pataki, Governor, New York State

Copy to:
Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
Bill Clinton, President of the United States of America
Lena Hjelm Wallen, Secretary of State, Sweden

Stockholm 97-05-20

Dear Sir!

We have recieved alarming news about New York State Troopers attacking and arresting peacefully demonstrating inhabitants of the Onondaga Nation. We urge that they are released immediately unless charged with recognizable criminal offences.

The Fourth World Association of Sweden strongly protests against this infringement on the human and legal rights of this Indian Nation. We expect that You respect the treaties Your country has signed. We will closely follow the further development of this conflict.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Thyselius, President

Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 03:17:52
To: dceditpage@rochesterdandc.com, louiseny@hr.house.gov, senator_al@damato.senate.gov, senator@dpm.senate.gov
From: Ron DiNatale rstanfor@frontiernet.net
Subject: Indian Rights


I was disturbed by what I saw on R-NEWS May 19, 1997. The news clip showed NY State Police with wooden batons savagely beating unarmed American Indians on Rt. 81 south of Syracuse, May 18, 1997.

This savagery brought to mind the beating of Rodney King by the LA Police, only on a larger scale. Unarmed Indian men and even women were being thrown to the ground and beat upon by the clubs wielded by the NY State Police.

I would like to thank R-News for their graphic coverage of the events. I also have to wonder, where were ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC? When the crisis in Texas was going on, over the forming of the Republic of Texas, all the networks had some daily coverage of the situation. The networks, so far, have seemed to be lax in the coverage of the crisis concerning the Indian Nations here in NY.

Along these same lines I have to wonder where was the Federal Government? The US is tough on countries who violate human rights but look the other way when human rights are being violated here in our own country. Where was the Bureau of Indian Affairs (the BIA)? Where was the ACLU? Where were all the human rights activists when unarmed Indian men and women were being beaten?

If the State Police were beating dogs the way they were beating the Indians they would have been arrested for cruelty to animals. In this situation, instead of being punished they will probably be given medals. Very much like the 7th Calvary during the massacre at wounded knee in December of 1890 when about 20 medals of honor were issued to the soldiers for killing Chief Big Foot and almost 300 unarmed men, women and children.

I guess this can all be explained away if the government feels that Indians aren't human and therefore have no human rights.

Ron DiNatale

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