Panel tackles land claim, sovereignty issues

The final panel in a yearlong series on the Onondaga Nation's land claim was held in Syracuse, New York, last night.

Scott Lyons, a Syracuse University assistant professor, pointed out that the U.S. Constitution recognizes tribal sovereignty. He said sovereignty becomes controversial when money, casinos and land claims are involved.

Richard Loder, the director of SU's Native American Studies program, said the Onondaga land claim hasn't been as contentious as others in New York. He cited the tribe's desire to clean up the environment rather than seek land or money.

Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a member of the Onondaga Nation, said sovereignty issues go beyond the U.S. borders. She has been working on the United Nations' declaration of indigenous rights, which is being opposed by the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Onondaga Nation filed its land claim last year. The state, citing precedents in two New York cases, has asked a judge to dismiss the claim.

Get the Story:
Panel pushes for tribal rights (The Syracuse Post-Standard 11/28)

Relevant Links:
Onondaga Nation -

Cayuga Land Claim Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. New York (June 28, 2005)

Sherrill v. Oneida Nation Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Souter] | Dissent [Stevens]

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