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BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
WATERLOO, N. Y., June 9, 1982
I hereby certify that the following is a copy of a resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors on the 8th day of June, 1982 ; that I have compared the same with said
original on file in my office and find it to be the same and the whole thereof.
SUPERVISORS - URGE SUPPORT OF INDIAN LAND CLAIM LEGISLATION
RESOLUTION NO. 133, moved by Mr. Zajac, seconded by Mr. Davids and
WHEREAS, hearings are to be conducted on the Ancient Indian Land Claims Bill, and
WHEREAS, the entire delegation from the State of South Carolina has shown complete unity in support of this bill, and
WHEREAS, two gubenatorial candidates from the State of New York, Ed Koch and Lew Lehrman, have also made public their support of this bill, therefore
RESOLVED, that this Board does urge the entire House Delegations of the State of New York to readily support this legislation for the benefit of all citizens and of all local landowners affected in the United States of America,
FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent to each member representing the State of New York delegation and to our representatives in the New York State Assembly and Senate and to the Governor of the State of New York.
Sharon L Secor...
Clerk, Board of Supervisors, Seneca County
JOINT MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING CONCERNING SETTLEMENT OF THE LAND CLAIMS OF THE CAYUGA INDIAN NATION
The Cayuga Indian Nation, the State of New York and the United States Departments of the Interior and Agriculture hereby agree to the following principles and provisions of settlement, which are all conditioned upon the enactment by the United States Congress of legislation conforming substantially to the terms of this memorandum :
1. This agreement is conditioned upon the following: (a) the United States Congress enacting legislation providing for the extinguishment of any land claims or derivative claims of the Cayuga Indian Nation anywhere within the State of New York and all land claims and derivative claims of any Indian, Indian Tribe or Indian Nation to the lands formerly reserved to the Cayuga Indian Nation within the State of New York, and holding harmless the State of New York, its political subdivisions, and all present or former owners and occupants of such lands from any such claims, and ratifying all treaties and other agreements between the State of New York and the Cayuga Nation; and (b) the Cayuga Indian Nation agreeing to execute appropriate documents relinquishing all such claims.
2. The United States shall acquire at no cost from the State of New York all of the State's rights, title and interest in Sampson State Park (approximately 1.852 acres) subject to all other valid and existing rights. Thereafter, all right, title and interest in Sampson State Park, including any interest which may have been retained by the United States after its transfer of this property to the State of New York, shall be held in trust for the Cayuga Indian Nation; Provided That
(a) The State of New York shall have the exclusive use and occupancy of that portion of Sampson State Park north of tributary 12 of Seneca Lake until October 1, 1983, for the purpose of continuing to operate the state park, and state park storage and maintenance facilities as presently exist: Provided, That members of the Cayuga Indian Nation shall have the right to use free of all charges all such state park facilities.
(b) The Cayuga Indian Nation agrees to operate and maintain the facilities of Sampson State Park for the purpose of public recreation from October 1, 1983, until January 1, 1989, unless the Cayuga Indian Nation and the State of New York agree that the Cayuga Indian Nation cannot so operate such facilities without incurring a financial loss.
(c) The State of New York reserves the right to maintain State Highway 96A to a width of six rods, to enter onto the land being transferred to the United States when necessary to maintain and improve State Highway 96A, and to permit the general public to travel unimpeded on State Highway 96A.
3. The Secretary of Agriculture shall transfer to the Secretary of the Interior all of that portion of the Hector Land Use Area, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, which lies within Seneca County, New York (approximately 3,629 acres), who shall thereafter hold this property in trust for the benefit of the Cayuga Indian Nation; Provided, That the transfer shall be subject to all valid, existing rights, including permits for the grazing of livestock, and that after the transfer the Cayuga Indian Nation shall be authorized to issue to non-Indians permits for the grazing of livestock, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.
4. (a) A Cayuga Claim Settlement Trust Fund shall be established in the United States Treasury, and $8,000,000 authorized to be appropriated by the implementing legislation shall be deposited in that fund and held by the Secretary of the Interior for the benefit of the Cayuga Indian Nation.
(b) This Trust Fund shall be administered in accordance with terms established by the Secretary of the Interior, and agreed to by the Cayuga Indian Nation, except that no part of the Trust Fund shall be distributed among the members of the Cayuga Indian Nation on a per capita basis.
(c) The Secretary of the Interior shall expend the principal up to $2,500,000 and may expend any income accruing to the Trust Fund for the purpose of acquiring lands to be held in trust for the benefit of the Cayuga Indian Nation, subject to the requirements of Indian land acquisition regulations promulgated by the Secretary.
5. Lands acquired for the benefit of the Cayuga Indian Nation pursuant to this agreement and implementing legislation shall be treated as a Federal Indian Reservation for purposes of the Cayuga Indian Nation's eligibility for programs administered by various agencies of the Federal Government.
6. The lands acquired for the benefit of the Cayuga Indian Nation pursuant to this agreement and implementing legislation shall be subject to the provisions of 25 U.S.C. §§ 232 and 233 providing for the criminal and civil jurisdiction of the courts of New York State; Provided, That the Cayuga Indian Nation reserves to itself the right to establish a tribal court system and a tribal police department subject to approval of the Secretary of the Interior.
7(a). The Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a roll of the members of the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, consisting of all persons of Cayuga Indian ancestry, whether domiciled in the United States or Canada, who were born on or before and are living on the date of enactment of the implementing legislation and who meet the following requirements:
(1) they are enrolled as members of the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York; or
(2A) they are matrilineal descendants (by birth or adoption) of members of the Cayuga Indian Nation as constituted at the signing of the Treaty with the Six Nations at Canandaigua on November 11, 1.94; and
(2B) they possess at least one-eighth (1/8th) degree of Indian blood. (b) All persons enrolled in the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York by the Secretary shall be eligible for all of the benefits of the land claim settlement; Provided, That none of the benefits of the settlement accruing to the Cayuga Indian Nation shall be dependent upon the completion of the roll by the Secretary of the Interior.
Acting Secretary of the Interior.
Senator COHEN. Seneca County citizens. Are they on this panel? Mr. KINNE. Sir, I am Wisner Kinne from Seneca County, and with me here is Mrs. Stephen Jensen. We have testimony in support of Senate bill 2084.
Senator COHEN. What is your name, sir?
Mr. MORSE. Bert Morse, New York State Grange.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Phil Griffin, New York Farm Bureau.
Senator COHEN. Why don't we have the gentlemen who are seated now, and I will defer the Seneca County citizens for a moment, Mr. Kinne and Mrs. Jensen.
STATEMENT OF BERT MORSE, MASTER, NEW YORK STATE GRANGE
Mr. MORSE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am Bert S. Morse, master of the New York State Grange, serving 35,000 members in our State. We commend you for arranging this hearing and affording us the opportunity to testify. Since the testimony has been submitted in writing, I would like to excerpt from it some of the phrases that pertain specifically to questions asked this morning.
You have heard about property owners, and more specifically agriculture. Agriculture is the single largest business within the State of New York, approaching $2 billion, which is a considerable amount of our economic life in our State.
We are anxious to see that this issue provides a fair settlement for all and this is why we support the bill that is before us.
I personally am a farmer in Cortland County. We own and operate a 490-acre dairy farm. The farm has been a family operation for over a century. Myself and thousands of other landowners now find ourselves in a difficult position; namely, can our land be confiscated because of unclear titles.
You may say that compensation will be made if this were to happen, but seldom does Government payment adequately compensate for the grievance being addressed.
Second, property owners are already fearing the economic impact of this insecurity in that leasing companies of natural resources are refusing to sign leasing agreements due to the uncertainty of land ownership. Also, the market for the sale of property is being restricted because a prospective buyer demands a clear title.
As a property owner, I received six notices because I have, in my present operation, six different parcels of land put together. I received six notices of court action being filed by the Oneida Indian Nation as plaintiff versus the State of New York et al. as defendants in the U.S. district court of northern New York. This is a class action suit asking the court to declare that they have the right to receive possession and the fair rental value of such real estate.
Can you understand my concern from an economic viewpoint? Consider the long litigation that would result, consider the expensive cost. Can you any longer question why this issue must be settled today?
Mr. Chairman, the Grange feels that this bill offers a sensible approach by which to address the ancient Indian land transfers. It offers two areas of redress, the Secretary of the Interior or the Court of Claims. It also offers the opportunity to purchase, with settlement moneys, any available land, this with the aid of the Secretary.
In resolving the issue, we look for the right on our side, what is right for the people, what is right for the land. Driving through our central New York, you will see hundreds of farms, well kept, with their productivity having been increased tremendously over the past century and a half. The land is not something that grows. It is not something to be manufactured. It cannot be mass produced. It is.
The Grange, patience and husbandry, has by its name and deeds nurtured and respected this land and those who live by it.
If I may call upon the words of one more knowledgeable than I, a quote from the case of United States v. Consolidated Wounded Knee: Feeling what was wrong does not describe what is right. Anguish about yesterday does not alone make wise answers for tomorrow. Somehow all the achings of the soul must coalesce and with the wisdom of the mind evolve a single national policy for governmental action.
We respectfully urge you, Mr. Chairman, to work toward the implementation of this bill. Thank you for the opportunity and may we go forward with an equitable settlement.
Senator COHEN. Thank you very much. Your prepared statement will be made a part of the record of this hearing. [The statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BERT S. MORSE, MASTER, NEW YORK STATE GRANGE
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee and subcommittee, I am Bert S. Morse, Master of the New York State Grange, serving rural America since 1867. We commend you for arranging this hearing and affording us the opportunity to testify.
Ancient Indian land claims have been an issue for many years. We appear here today in support of S. 2084, which calls for an equitable policy, which we feel is fair to all parties.
Mr. Chairman, the Grange is concerned and anxious to see this threat to long time landowners, resolved to the satisfaction of all. We feel that unless this issue is settled, that each subsequent year will confuse and compound the issues. Hundreds of farmers, many of them Grangers, live with the uncertainty of not knowing if they have clear title to the lands which they, and their family, have worked for a century and more. Will they be subjected to individual suits?
The New York State Grange has 540 Granges in the state, could they conceivably, somewhere down the road, be subjected to a claim against their property?
Mr. Chairman, I personally am a farmer in Cortland county, we own and operate a 490-acre dairy farm. This farm has been a family operation for over a century. Myself and thousands of other landowners now find ourselves in a difficult position, namely, can our land now be confiscated because of unclear titles? You may say compensation would be made, if this were to happen, but seldom does government payment adequately compensate for the grievance being addressed. Second property owners are already feeling the economic impact of this insecurity, in that leasing companies of natural resources are refusing to sign leasing agreements due to the uncertainty of land ownership. Also, the market for the sale of property is being restricted because a prospective buyer demands a clear title. As a property owner, I received a notice of court action being filed by the Oneida Indian Nation as plaintiff vs. The State of New York, et.-al. as defendants in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District Court at New York. This is a Class Action suit, asking the court to declare that they have the right to receive possession and the fair rental value of such real estate. Consider the long litigation that would result, consider the expansive costs... can you any longer question why this issue must be settled now?
Concensus may well be that this will never come to pass, but it has been proven that what seemed improbable... soon becomes possible.
U.S. District Judge Theis said, in addressing certain Kansas Indians, ... said it more eloquently than we could, “. . . The court believes that a great injustice was probably done to some of the Kansas half-breeds in allowing forcible entries and inequitable or fraudulent conveyances to stand, an injustice all too typical of the general treatment of those American nations upon whom the white man chose to impose a conqueror's terms. Justice would not be served. however, by wresting those lands away, more than a century later, from equally innocent landowners. To exact retribution on the current landowners for the sins of their great-grandfathers would merely add to injustice, not right it."
Mr. Chairman, the Grange feels that this bill offers a sensible approach by which to address the Ancient Indian Land Transfers. It offers two areas of redress... The Secretary of the Interior or the U.S. Court of Claims. It also offers the opportunity to purchase, with settlement monies, any available land . . . this with the aid of the Secretary.
In resolving the issue, we look for the "right" on all sides . . . what is right for the people . . . what is right for the land. The land, it is not something one grows, it is not something to be manufactured, it cannot be mass produced IT IS. The Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, has by its name and by its deeds nurtured and respected this land and those who live by it.
If I may again call on words more knowledgeable than ours, we quote from the case of the U.S. vs. Consolidated Wounded Knee. "Feeling what was wrong does not describe what is right. Anguish about yesterday does not alone make wise answers for tomorrow. Somehow. all the achings of the soul must coalesce and with the wisdom of the mind develop a single national policy for governmental action."
We respectfully urge you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, to work towards the implementation of this bill. Thank you for the opportunity of addressing this issue of Ancient Indian Land Transfers. Either I, Mr. Griffin of the Farm Bureau or Mr. Shafer of the Council of Agricultural Organizations will gladly answer any questions you might have.
Senator COHEN. I remind the witnesses that we have to conclude by 12:30 on this panel. Then we will recess until 2:30 and I will reconvene at that time for the remaining witnesses. So if you could summarize your statements, we would appreciate it.
STATEMENT OF PHILLIP GRIFFIN, VICE PRESIDENT, NEW YORK FARM BUREAU
Mr. GRIFFIN. I am Phillip Griffin, vice president of New York Farm Bureau. I speak for 21,500 farm families of New York Farm Bureau in support of H.R. 5494 and S. 2084. New York Farm Bureau members are landowners who are directly affected by Indian land claims. In New York, two Indian land claims cloud the title to almost 6 million