I drive up and down route 89 in central New York a few times a year. Over the past few years, I’ve seen these signs along the road. I could tell that some kind of land dispute was occurring between the local residents and the Seneca/Cayuga tribes. In short, the Cayuga were forced out of New York state by General Sullivan during the Revolutionary War. The majority of the tribe now lives in Ontario, Canada. They have made land claims in New York State and want to establish a reservation on land in Cayuga County, New York. understandably, the current residents of the area do not want to give up their land. I’ve over simplified the dispute, which has traversed America’s courts from bottom to top over the last 27 years.
The Cayuga Nation purchased 130 acres in Cayuga county in 2005. they applied for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the land under trust so they could establish a reservation on the land. This designation would mean that the tribe would not be required to pay taxes or other fees to New York State. The request was denied because the Bureau decided that the trust is not necessary to protect the financial well being of the tribe. they also sited financial hardships on surrounding residents.
I’ve read some articles on the website listed on the residents’ signs. http://www.upstate-citizens.org I don’t have any thoughts on the merits of their arguments. All I can say is that the tenor of the articles smacks of racism. They take the most salacious news items they can find to paint the Cayuga as unscrupulous thieves trying to steal land from innocent people who have long standing claims to the land they live on.
I would fight any attempt to annex my property, but I wouldn’t characterize the Indians as squatters or thieves. I find myself siding with the Cayuga, simply because of the tactics used by Upstate Citizens. I really dislike racists, I’d say I “hate” racists, but… you know…