Onondaga Nation of New York


Paul Waterman, chief of the Nation's Turtle Clan, will conduct a public ceremony June 17 for reburial of 2,000-year-old remains of an American Indian uncovered during a park wetlands project. A traditional sacred ritual would have precluded public participation. "We want everyone to know that we were here a long time ago," Waterman told the Oneonata Daily Star, "long before Europeans got here." The Bainbridge Sportsmen's Club will hold a traditional death feast following reburial. Waterman said this offers a chance to spend time with the spirit of the deceased. "We are going to have a meal with him for the last time. He was interrupted in his journey to where the Creator resides." The remains of the Onondaga man, who was about 20 when he died, were uncovered last fall during an archaeological survey preceding construction of a dam to restore the wetlands. Pat McElligott, state director of the Council for American Indian Rights, said numerous spear points were uncovered with the remains and they date several hundred years before the bow and arrow found there.

A former Nation businessman must pay nearly $4.75 million for defying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and refusing to cleanup a massive underground gasoline spill at his reservation gas station. A district court judge ruled Oliver Hill was liable for ignoring a 1995 cleanup order. The fine was based on a recommendation of a U.S. magistrate following a brief trial in January. Federal regulators blamed Hill for 10,000 gallons of gasoline that leaked from his station on the reservation just south of Syracuse. The spill contaminated three private drinking-water wells as it spread into a local aquifer. Hill operated the station and an adjacent grocery for nearly 10 years before being banished for non-payment of a Nation tax on cigarette sales. Hill defended himself and could not be located for comment, said a Buffalo News report.