Courtesy Onondaga Nation
Onondaga Nation representatives were in Washington, D.C. today to file a petition against the United States with the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Onondaga Nation Files Human Rights Violations against US

Gale Courey Toensing

The Onondaga Nation’s petition is unique in that it is not seeking evictions from its historic territory, monetary damages or a casino. Instead, it seeks reconciliation and a ruling that would allow the Nation to continue its role as an environmental steward of the land it once conserved for centuries.

“The Nation brings this Petition to bring about a healing between themselves and all others who live in the region that has been the homeland of the Onondaga Nation since the dawn of time,” the petition says. “The Nation and its people have a unique spiritual, cultural and historic relationship with the land, which is embodied in the Gayanashagowa, the Great Law of Peace. This relationship goes far beyond federal and state legal concepts of ownership, possession or legal rights. The people are one with the land, and consider themselves stewards of it. It is the duty of the Nation’s leaders to work for a healing of this land, to protect it, and to pass it on to future generations. The Onondaga Nation brings this Petition on behalf of its people in the hope that it may hasten the process of reconciliation and bring lasting justice, peace and respect among all who inhabit the area.”

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is also named as a plaintiff on the petition.

Onondaga’s legal trip began March 11, 2005, when it filed its land rights action in federal court.

On March 29, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its devastating decision in Sherrill v. Oneida – an 8-1 ruling that invoked the Doctrine of Laches – the idea that the Oneida Nation had waited too long to claim the land.

Although the high court acknowledged that the Oneida Nation’s 300,000-acre land claim was indeed the Nation’s historic reservation that had never been “dis-established and that New York state had taken the land in violation of the law and treaties, the “standards of equity” demanded that it would be too “disruptive”  of the current occupants’ lives to return the stolen land to Oneida.

The “standards of federal Indian law and federal equity practice precluded the tribe from rekindling embers of sovereignty that long ago grew cold,” the majority in Sherrill wrote in a footnote.


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Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
These land thieves are never going to acknowledge any wrong doing or liability; EVER. They will go to their graves before they admit anything. These land thieves are evil people. Their government's throughout the centuries have been nothing more than mafia thugs terrorizing, harassing, killing all who stand in their way & do not believe as they do about what makes someone or group a human being. Greed is the most vicious disease of all my friends. It festers the breeding ground for hatred & manifests itself fully in wars, murders & destruction of whole civilizations. Nothing changes over time with humanity but the number of years that fly by sadly.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I'm with Two Bears; this country has YET to issue an official apology for the treatment of NDNs. We were the very first people to be discriminated against in this country and we will be the last to receive any respect or thanks for our contributions. From helping the early colonists survive winter to the WWII Code Talkers we have proven our worth and our love of this land, but our lands are STILL being taken away (think Keystone pipeline) AND we're forced to endure corporate racism through sports. My best wishes are with the Onondaga in their pursuit for truth, justice and the "American" way.

curtj's picture
Submitted by curtj on
Our leaders make it a point not to mention the policies of colonialism foisted on us are nothing more than theft and murder resulting in the theft of our land base and its resources, that the state and federal governments revenues depend on how much resources and lands they can steal from us. Internationally the same policies that our government foists on foreign countries is all for the benefit of either domestic conglomerates but mostly for foreign owned oil, energy and mining conglomerates who covet other countries resources. They depend on America to spend the trillions of dollars to destabilize governments by assassinations and coups, to set up and prop up, despot dictators or puppet regimes, bribed to allow the theft of their countries resources and lands. They subjugate their people with intimidation, terror, kidnappings, rape and murder. America spends the trillions, 4 trillion for Iraq and Afghanistan alone, and the profits go to the foreign owned conglomerates, their bribed dictators, and on down into our bribed politicans pockets. In return America gets the trillion dollar bills and resulting terrorist attacks from people incensed at seeing their resources and lands stolen and manipulated and people terrorized and murdered in order to accomplish the theft. But our leaders refuse to say anything about it, too afraid or too uneducated to the policies of colonialism foisted on their people for the profit of white collar thieves and murderers.