So as we arranged for the safe removal of asbestos from the house, I remembered a story that happened quite a few years ago.
A company who removed asbestos from their own buildings decided that they were not going to safely remove it from the property. Instead they did their renovations and took the hazardous materials for a drive in a truck and dumped it along a road thinking they had ridded the waste for good.
But their truck happened to stop within the boundary on the Onondaga Nation. Soon it was reported to the council by one of citizens about this mysterious pile of trash. Spearheaded by Chief Irving Powless Jr., the nation began to work with federal agencies to find the offending company. Chief Powless knows our treaties and brought to the attention of the federal authorities Article VII of the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty. This section of the treaty specifically deals with the process which each government can follow to redress wrongs from citizens from each nation. He reminded them that this treaty a binding and living agreement between the two sovereigns and by implementing Article VII against the offending party, we would be polishing the agreement between us.
Armed with treaty and federal law the offenders were soon caught and were not only responsible for the cleanup of the site, but fines as well. I’m sure that that company learned its lesson.