Posted by: winteridge | August 13, 2007

This Land is Your Land…


Recently I found on Ebay and purchased a copy of the “History of Town of Harrisburg”, on Tug Hill where I grew up. Interesting stuff, some about people and places I knew, and some I never knew. One piece of history mentions the Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee People, and how, according to their history, they arrived in this world from a hole in the ground near the Sandy Creek in Harrisburg. That started me to thinking.  I know, Uh-Oh.

Discouraged by the severe Tug Hill weather and pressure from stronger tribes to the North, the People migrated south into what is now Central New York. Here they found weaker tribes, such as the Wenro, Pocumtuc, Delaware, and Mahigan, which they massacred, enslaved, adopted, or drove from the area. There is no record of treaties, payments, or other compensation for these lands. Ever hear of a casino run by the Susquehannock, Neutrals, or Kickapoo?

So when the Europeans arrived on the scene, the Iroquois occupied these coveted lands, even though they never actually owned them. (Actually, Native American tradition allows that no one ever actually owns the land; they are only caretakers.) So what ensued was tribal leaders who had no authority to sell, selling the land to New York State leaders who had no authority to buy. Surely the N.A. got a good chuckle out of that. Wait, it gets better.

So, after a couple of more centuries, the descendants of these Iroquois decided to reclaim the lands, or current value of same, that they took by force and sold, even though they didn’t ever own them. Confusing? No wonder the Highest Courts of the Land have never been able to make a decision on who owns what. Reminds me of a legend in my own family which holds that a great-great of mine “acquired” a very valuable racing horse, which he then sold for little or nothing. Should I now be entitled to compensation from the descendents of the buyer for the present value of that steed, plus the value of its’ children and children’s children and so on? I guess I should consult the guv.

For upon the scene now appears the New York Governor, Mario I believe it was, who, without the approval of the Legislature or the Citizens or any Federal or State laws (well, he probably did clear it with Joe B.-nothing happens in NY without Joe B.’s ok), awards the N.A. an exclusive casino deal that allows for no revenue sharing, no tax obligations, and requires that the People only obey those State Laws they wish to recognize. Why does our Attorney General not investigate that deal?

On second thought, here are these N.A. nations, like the Oneidas, prospering without the need for income tax, sales tax, school tax, property tax; all those benefits for which New York State is famous. Perhaps it is time to turn the entire state (except New York City, of course) over to them…I for one would love to live free of all those tax burdens. New Yorkers could either work for the Haudenosaunee or, like most of our neighbors, move to another state. Food for thought.

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