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New York tribes cite sovereignty in tax suit

Two New York tribes were in federal court on Tuesday to challenge the state's attempt to impose taxes on tobacco products sold to non-Indians.

The Shinnecock Nation and the Unkechaug Nation are recognized by the state. Attorney Conly J. Schulte, of the firm Monteau & Peebles, said their status means they are immune from state taxation.

The state counters that neither tribe is recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. "They are just like everybody else," a state attorney told Newsday after the hearing. "They can't hide behind so-called Indian immunity to sell cartons at $20 when everybody else sells at $50 to $60 a carton."

The state has passed laws that treat the tribes as distinct entities, including recognition of their land as reservations.

Get the Story:
Indian nations claim sovereignty in cigarette suit (Newsday 10/11)

Relevant Links:
Association of Responsible Cigarette Sellers -
Seneca Nation -
Honor Indian Treaties -

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