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Onondaga Indian Nation Approved for Return of Murphy’s Island

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“One step closer.” That’s what Lloyd Withers, founder of Onondaga Shoreline Heritage Restoration said about the legislation, recently passed, to return Murphy’s Island on Onondaga Lake back to the Onondaga Indian Nation.

With a vote of 11-8 on July 5, the 36-acre parcel of land situated at the southeast end of the lake in Syracuse, New York was approved to be transferred to the Nation.

The resolution was sponsored by county legislators Jim Corbett and Linda Ervin.

Though, according to the Post-Standard of Syracuse, this may not happen anytime soon.

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The property is polluted with industrial waste and tribal leaders have stated the land transfer would be refused if the property was not cleaned up first.

In an ongoing question and answer at on Thursday, Tadodaho Sid Hill, spiritual leader of the Onondaga Nation, said “The Nation is not really satisfied with the amount of cleanup being done on the lake and our concern is the wildlife that is living on those areas. We’re hoping for some better results by our standards of cleanup.”

When asked about the trees and vegetation on the island and the cleanup process of whether it would need to be bulldozed due to contamination Withers responded by saying, “Excellent question. The soil has been contaminated and the trees are an important feature of the site. While a plan has not been decided upon, there have been experts that have suggested the trees and vegetation can assist the remediation. Maybe some combination of methods need to be employed to best preserve the valuable assets there.”

Hill went on to discuss the great historical significance the lake area has meant to the Haudenosaunee. “In the forming of the confederacy by the Peacemaker it was here where the Five Nations had to persuade the powerful Tadodaho to except the message of peace.”

Follow the full Q&A here.