Magazine article Insight on the News

Form the Casinos in a Circle

Magazine article Insight on the News

Form the Casinos in a Circle

Article excerpt

The Justice Department has teamed with the Oneida Indian Nation in a lawsuit against 20,000 landowners to recover 270,000 acres of ancestral land in central New York. The U.S. Supreme Court decided 13 years ago that the land had been taken from the Indians through coercive and illegal treaties in the early days of settlement. The new lawsuit seeks to implement that decision. Oneidas now living in Wisconsin and Canada have joined the lawsuit, which seeks return of the land or "compensation."

Not long ago the Oneida reservation consisted of 32 remote acres blighted with abandoned trailers that had been donated by the federal government. Then the Oneidas opened a casino resort called Turning Stone, which has become a huge success that generates hundreds of millions of tax-free dollars for them each year.

Threatened landowners in the hard-scrabble, isolated farming area almost are literally up in arms. Their fury is directed at the now-wealthy Oneidas, the state and federal governments and their elected representatives. At stormy meetings, citizens have demanded that their legislators recite the Pledge of Allegiance to to show where their loyalties lie. …

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