May 11/97: Seneca Update - blockades continue


Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 11:40:49 (EDT)
Subject: Radio mis-info, and latest at Seneca from a resident


Subj: radio crazio
To: Firehair

I have also heard that national radio was broadcasting some twisted version like this, some news mis reporting, one guy even e-mailed me and asked me about what he had heard, it almost sounded like the smoke shop keepers were asking the state to protect them from the Seneca Nation government, when I re-explained and provided a web site address he e-mailed back stating, why of course NYS shouldn't have anything to say about commerce on the reservations.

Today traveling towards Ithaca, NY (Home of Cornell Univ) a friend of mine counted over 50 trooper cars heading west towards the Allegeny. The local indians are dragging logs over 17 and stopping traffic, last night there was a fire near steamburg on one the west bound side stopping traffic for a few hours.


They charge state strike at sovereignty in sales tax fight

Albany Times Union
Sunday, May 11, 1997
John Kekis - Associated Press

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]

NEDROW -- Tires continued to smolder Saturday along Interstate 81 as a lonesome trio of Indians -- an Onondaga, an Oneida and a Mohawk -- braved raw spring weather protesting an interim tax deal with New York state.

"Nobody's going to take my sovereignty, and nobody's going to take my kids' sovereignty," said Ken Kappelmeier, a Mohawk from Akwesasne in northern New York. "I'll stand up for it to all ends, whatever that may be."

Just like many have done since the I-81 protest began at around 11 p.m. Thursday just south of Syracuse, motorists honked in support as they sped past on Saturday. Traffic near the fire backed up for more than a mile in both directions during rush hour Friday night, causing substantial delays for commuters.

The protest stems from a temporary agreement reached last month between Indian and state leaders. Under the agreement, the Onondaga, Tuscarora, Tonawanda Senecas, Cayuga and Shinnecock reservations agreed to raise the price of tax-free cigarettes on their reservations. In return, the state said it wouldn't collect taxes on goods sold to non-Indians.

Earlier this month, Gov. George Pataki and the leaders of four Indian nations agreed to extend the tax pact for 30 days. The state wants to negotiate permanent tax agreements with all of New York's Indian nations. The Seneca, St. Regis Mohawk and Poospatuck nations so far have refused to sign anything.

"They've stolen everything from us, and now they're trying to tax us," Kappelmeier said as he huddled under a makeshift shelter between two billboards, sheltered from gusting winds and a light rain. "When someone can tax you, it means they've taken away your individual sovereignty. You have no more rights. That's it. We're not taking it any more."

The three said they were waiting for relief so they could get some rest, but they hinted that they were not about to give up.

"This highway is the lifeblood of central New York," Kappelmeier said. "If we close this highway for a week, you know how much money they'd lose? But we don't want to do that."

Meanwhile, members of the Seneca Nation of Indians were in Washington trying to convince the federal government and President Clinton to intervene. The tribe, in a letter, asked Clinton to file suit in federal court against New York for failing to honor Indian treaties.

Pataki ordered a virtual blockade to cut off gas and tobacco deliveries to the Seneca reservations April 1 after the tribe refused to allow the state to collect tax on sales to non-Indians. With gas tanks dry and 'smoke shops' depleted, the move has thrown at least 400 people out of work.

"The state of affairs between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state is fragile, and the potential for violence and possible loss of human life is very real here since no real progress has been made to resolve the underlying issue of New York state's infringement on our sovereignty," the letter said.

Back to SIS