Talk more, demand less

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On Dec. 15, New York Gov. David Paterson signed into law a thinly veiled political attempt by the state to force the collection of taxes on cigarettes sold by American Indian-owned stores. None of New York state’s past efforts to infringe on sovereignty have worked, and there is no reason to believe the new cigarette tax law will work either.

Since time immemorial, the Oneida People have called this part of what is now Central New York our homelands. The Oneida Indian Nation’s government works on the behalf of our people to protect sovereignty and provide for the financial well-being of Oneidas today and those seven generations in the future.

This newest measure to trample on Indian sovereignty ignores longstanding treaties from over two hundred years ago and other federal laws that uphold the non-taxable status of Indian nations.

The cigarette tax law assures more time in court and more money for lawyers on both sides of the issue. If the state is serious about resolving this issue, it will negotiate with Indian nations rather than demanding more from them.

– Clint Hill
Turtle Clan Representative
Oneida Indian Nation Council
Oneida Nations Homelands