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Oneida Nation of New York

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Lennox officials say a 20-square-foot roadside sign put up by the nation violates zoning laws and want it removed. The tribe says the sign is on Oneida-owned land, sovereign reservation property, so it does not have to follow zoning laws. Officials said they would order nation leaders to appear in town court. Lennox would become the third municipality this year to challenge the Oneidas over sovereignty of reacquired homelands. Nation spokesman Mark Emery said the nation would take "appropriate legal action" to defend its position. Earlier, the Oneidas filed federal lawsuits to stop similar challenges by the City of Sherrill and Madison County. The city sought to evict the Oneidas from their T-shirt printing factory over roughly $3,000 in delinquent taxes. The county began foreclosing proceedings on a dozen Oneida properties for $121,000 in back taxes. In a federal suit pending since 1974, the Oneidas claim 250,000 acres in Madison and Oneida as lost ancestral lands the United States promised to protect in a 1795 treaty. Once limited to a 32-acre reservation, the Oneidas own approximately 20,000 acres termed reservation land. The nation intends to keep the sign, advertising a nation gas station and convenience store in place on Route 31, Emery said.

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