On October 11, 2007, the Onondaga people and its supporters gathered in the early morning at the Nation Arena. There were two busses waiting to take everyone to Albany for an historic day. This was going to be the first time that the Onondaga Land Rights Case would be argued in Federal court.
The State of New York had filed a motion to dismiss the Onondaga Case. Federal Judge Lawrence Kahn had decided that today each side would have 30 minutes to present their argument on why the case should or should not continue. After the Nation and the State presented their arguments, Judge Kahn will review all of the information presented and make a decision at a later date (as of Nov 21, 2007 Judge Kahn has not made his ruling).
Listed below are some of statements made during the argument in federal court in Albany. If you want to download the entire transcript, download here.
Statements from the Oral Argument
Pg. 11- 12 “… the court can declare that the State of New York did in acquiring the Onondaga Nations lands, and its practically all of their land, that that was a violation of the Federal Trade and Intercourse Act, violation of the treaties made with the Haudenosaunee and the Onondaga Nation, and in violation of the United States Constitution.” – Tim Coulter Attorney for Onondaga Nation.
Pg. 14 “The nation itself has been thrown off its lands, it doesn’t want to do that to anyone else. It (the Nation) knows how that feels.” – Tim Coulter Attorney for Onondaga Nation.
Pg. 14-15 “The Nation thinks these land rights issues should be resolved through negotiating through agreement, through government to government talks with the federal government.” – Tim Coulter Attorney for Onondaga Nation.
Pg. 16 “A (declaratory judgment) would also go far toward wiping away the stain of what has been done, a stain on the honor of this country and a stain on the history of the State.” – Tim Coulter Attorney for Onondaga Nation.
Pg. 17 “… the Solicitors office of the Interior Department has recommended that litigation by the United States in support of the Onondaga Nation (lawsuit) proceed.” – Tim Coulter Attorney for Onondaga Nation.
Pg. 24 “And the thing that’s strange about this contention (the Onondaga suit) is that it turns the ancient doctrine of discovery on its head.” – David Roberts Attorney for the State of New York
Pg. 25 “(the Onondagas are) trying to find some way to get justice.” – Federal Justice Lawrence Kahn to David Roberts