AP Photo
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, left, and Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises at the signing of the historic agreement last year. On March 4, the agreement was finalized by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn.

Oneida Nation and New York Agreement Gets Final Approval


Decades of disputes in the form of contentious lawsuits and an overall feeling of animosity came to a close on March 4, when United States District Judge Lawrence Kahn approved the historic agreement between the Oneida Indian Nation and the state of New York.

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“After years of investing in local communities and developing enterprises that sustain thousands of jobs, we are pleased that the State of New York has become a formal partner in our continuing efforts to strengthen this region’s economy and that we have settled all of our legal disputes between our peoples once and for all,” Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises, parent company of Indian Country Today Media Network said in a statement shortly after the announcement.

The historic deal that resolves all disputes between the state government and the sovereign Indian nation over land rights, tax issues, gaming and law enforcement began on April 25 of last year when New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo personally contacted the Oneida Indian Nation as reported by ICTMN at the time. From that point the deal took less than a month to put together before being announced.

RELATED: The Peacemakers: Inside New York and Oneida’s Historic Agreement

Prior to the Judge’s approving signature, the agreement was approved by the Oneida County Board of Legislators on May 28, followed by the Madison County Board of Supervisors on May 30. The agreement was also approved by the New York State Legislature.

RELATED: Oneida Nation and New York Agreement Approved by Counties

Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive, called Kahn’s sign-off “historic,” according to The Utica Observer Dispatch.

“March 4 will be remembered as the day when all the past tensions between neighbors have finally been laid to rest,” Picente said in a statement. “With this approval in federal court, the final hurdle has been cleared. We are all partners as we work together to grow this community; economically and culturally.”


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