Judge dismisses most of St. Regis Mohawk Tribe's land claims

A federal judge has dismissed most of the land claims of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe of New York.

The tribe claimed 12,000 acres was stolen by the state. But Judge Lawrence E. Kahn said the majority of the claims are barred by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sherrill v. Oneida Nation and by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Cayuga Nation v. New York.

"Given the length of time between the disputed conveyances and the filing of the claim, the fact that the islands were never regularly inhabited, and the presence of a major hydroelectric facility, this claim is dismissed on the ground of Sherrill laches for reasons similar to those supporting the dismissal of the Route 37 claim," Kahn wrote in the decision, referring to two of the claims he dismissed.

But Kahn said the tribe can proceed with its claim to the 2,000-acre area known as the Hogansburg Triangle and another claim regarding easements for Niagara Mohawk’s power lines. He said these claims aren't barred by Sherrill.

The ruling might affect land claim talks between the tribe and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The tribe agreed to continue sharing revenues from its gaming facilities in exchange for further discussions.

Get the Story:
Federal court upholds recommendation to dismiss majority of land claim suit (Johnson Newspapers 7/9)

District Court Decision:
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe v. New York (July 8, 2013)

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