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Second Circuit Court Denies Motion for Rehearing on Status of Oneida Reservation

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On August 16, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of appeals denied Madison and Oneida counties’ efforts to disestablish the Oneida Indian Nation reservation by saying the court would not rehear arguments in the case.

It is the last decision left in a foreclosure case between the Nation and the two counties according to the Oneida Daily Dispatch.

“This Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling falls in line with two previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings that the Oneida Nation reservation was never disestablished and that the Treaty of Canandaigua remains valid in the eyes of the federal government,” Dan Smith, OIN spokesman said in a released statement. “This ruling puts an end to more than a decade of litigation over the existence of the Oneida reservation.”

The case, which reached the Supreme Court last year prior to the Nation waiving its sovereign immunity, ended up voiding half the arguments in the case following the Nation’s move according to the Dispatch. This led to the Supreme Court’s decision to send the decision back to the Second Circuit, which sent it back to the lower court advising it to receive clarification from the state court.

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Madison County halted the process when it submitted an application for the Second Circuit Court to rehear the case.

David Shraver, an attorney from Nixon Peabody, the law firm that represents the county in this case told the Dispatch, “Since the Supreme Court granted review of this question once, it may look favorably on a petition for a writ of certiorari to review it again. The land claim has been dismissed and is not affected by this development.”

"We are pleased that today's ruling puts an end to legal challenges to the status of the Oneida reservation,” Smith said. “This ruling is good news for Oneida members, our more than 4,500 employees and their families, and for the entire Central New York region. This decision allows everyone to finally move beyond the conflicts of the past and chart a new, more prosperous path for the future.”