High court won't hear Oneidas' land claim in NY

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from the Oneida Indian Nation claiming that it was underpaid for over 250,000 acres in onetime tribal lands in upstate New York that changed hands more than 150 years ago.

The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that threw out the Oneidas' land claims.

The Oneidas say the state illegally purchased land in upstate New York in a series of transactions in the 18th and 19th centuries. They claim New York underpaid for the land in Madison and Oneida counties by about $500,000, a sum now worth $500 million with interest compounded.

The lawsuit was filed in 1974 by Oneidas in New York, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

“This morning’s determination does not change the Oneida Indian Nation’s litigation strategy.," said Mark Emery, director of media relations for the Oneida Nation. "The federal courts have ruled that the Oneida Nation reservation remains intact and that the Oneida Nation owes no taxes on its reservation. The Department of Interior has determined that more than 13,000 acres of the Nation’s re-acquired homelands should be transferred into trust. The Oneida Nation will continue the course of transferring its lands into trust while remaining open to discussing a resolution with any party that wishes to participate with respect and in good faith.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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