We have a new issue with our neighbors, the Cayuga Indian Nation (CIN).
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has made several decisions in the past year, some which affect us directly and some in-directly in the Village.
The most recent decision could be the most serious of all. The BIA has issued a re-instatement of the Cayugas’ request to put Land-In-Trust. They had petitioned for this stating back in2005. It ended in 2011 with an incomplete process. The BIA is allowing it to be considered using the same data as started 13 years ago. This includes the environmental data.
The properties under review within the Village include the (illegal) gambling facility, the gas station and car wash as well as the 108 acre field directly behind and connecting both businesses. Although they own other properties in the Village, these were the ones petitioned for in 2005.
Additionally, the CIN is seeking Land-In-Trust on a 6 acre just outside of the Village (south) in the Town of Springport, and multiple properties in Seneca Falls Township in Seneca County.
Land-In-Trust is a process where if granted it would take these taxable properties out of the village/town/school district/county and state hands and make them Federal lands, and a start to a permanent CIN reservation.
In the original application statements were issued that said:
The Nation has no plans for further development of the properties on which the Nation’s Enterprises are located. The Nation plans to continue the agricultural use (field crops) of the 93 tillable acres of the 108 acre vacant parcel in Union Springs. The Nation has owned this parcel since 2005, and has continued its agricultural use for soybean cultivation. The farming activity consists of an annual cycle of preparing soil and planting, mid-summer spraying, and fall harvesting. Soybean production in New York State has been increasing over the past several years, and the Nation plans to use the soybean crop as an additional source of revenue.
Based on many statements in the following years I believe that not to be true. Clint Halftown, who is the BIA recognized leader for Federal programs of the CIN, has openly talked about reclaiming all 64,000 acres of the original NYS reservation by treaty.
The Land-In-Trust issue has serious implications. The Village and other affected municipalities have legal representation provided to us by New York State. Legally it is very good, but we have asked for additional resources to protect us and your properties.
While there is much detail in the report from the Citizen Advertiser, the concern for who is affected the most, Union Springs, needs our diligent attention.
I should add that NYS is providing us with a top notch legal team (Nixon Peabody) to continue our fight of the casino/quasi bingo gambling enterprise on Rt. 90 in the Village. The 1958 Village Law prohibiting all gambling in Union Springs continues to be ignored by the Halftown branch of the Cayuga’s. By the way, the Clan side of the Cayuga’s (Traditional) are against all gambling. More on this saga as we proceed.
Mayor Bud Shattuck