Native Americans say US violated human rights - KMSP-TV

Native Americans say US violated human rights

Posted: Updated:
Chelsey Cook removes weeds from her family's garden on Onondaga Nation, N.Y. "We grew up knowing that we're real people," said Cook of her Native American heritage.(AP File Photo/Heather Ainsworth) Chelsey Cook removes weeds from her family's garden on Onondaga Nation, N.Y. "We grew up knowing that we're real people," said Cook of her Native American heritage.(AP File Photo/Heather Ainsworth)

By JESSE J. HOLLAND

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Native American group is asking the international community to charge the United States with human rights violations in hopes of getting help with a land claim.

The Onondaga Indian Nation says it plans to file a petition at the Organization of American States on Tuesday, seeking human rights violations against the United States government. It wants the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to declare that the U.S. government's decision not to hear its lawsuit asking for the return of 2.5 million acres in upstate New York to be violations of international human rights agreements.

The nation has argued that about 4,000 square miles in 11 upstate New York counties stretching from Pennsylvania to Canada was illegally taken through a series of bogus treaties. More than 875,000 people live in the area, which includes Syracuse and other cities.

U.S. courts have refused to hear the lawsuit asking for the return of their land, with the Supreme Court turning away a final petition in October.

"The problem is that we can't get the governor to sit down with us and the United States to live up to its treaty rights," said the Onondaga Nation's attorney, Joe Heath.

While in Washington, the group plans to display a belt that George Washington had commissioned to commemorate one of the treaties that was supposed to guarantee the Onondaga their land and "the free use and enjoyment thereof."

The group says it is not seeking monetary damages, eviction of residents or rental payments. Instead, it wants a declaration that the land continues to belong to the Onondagas and that federal treaties were violated when it was taken away. Onondaga leaders have said they would use their claim to force the cleanup of hazardous, polluted sites like Onondaga Lake.

The petition against the United States was brought by the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which is made up of the Onondaga, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca Nations.

It could be years before the commission decides whether to hear the nation's complaint, Heath said. Even then, there is nothing that could force the government to follow international recommendations, Heath said. The hope is that public pressure would bring state and federal officials to the table.

"Yes, they can just ignore it but there's only so long we think can they do that," said Heath.

Even if nothing happens, they will have made their stand, they said.

"We're here, we're speaking out and they know where we stand," Onondaga Clan Mother Freida Jacques said. "Maybe you won't write it in history, but we'll know we made this effort and we're not letting the people down."


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Wedding reception at country club ends with brawl

    Wedding reception at country club ends with brawl

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:37 AM EDT2014-09-16 12:37:23 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    Police say they're investigating a large brawl that broke out at the end of a wedding reception held over the weekend at a suburban Buffalo country club. Officials tell local media that seven different police agencies were called in late Saturday to break up the fight at the Orchard Park Country Club. Officers say dozens of the approximately 200 guests were involved in the melee, which broke out after a member of the wedding party was tossed off the premises for inappropriate behavior.
    Police say they're investigating a large brawl that broke out at the end of a wedding reception held over the weekend at a suburban Buffalo country club. Officials tell local media that seven different police agencies were called in late Saturday to break up the fight at the Orchard Park Country Club. Officers say dozens of the approximately 200 guests were involved in the melee, which broke out after a member of the wedding party was tossed off the premises for inappropriate behavior.
  • Police: Man damages 2 golf courses after breakup

    Police: Man damages 2 golf courses after breakup

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:59 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:59:02 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    Authorities say a 23-year-old western New York man caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage at two Buffalo-area golf courses after being dumped by his girlfriend.  Police in the suburban town of Orchard Park say Austin Christopher used his pickup truck to tear up the ninth green at Harvest Hill Golf Course early Saturday morning.
    Authorities say a 23-year-old western New York man caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage at two Buffalo-area golf courses after being dumped by his girlfriend.  Police in the suburban town of Orchard Park say Austin Christopher used his pickup truck to tear up the ninth green at Harvest Hill Golf Course early Saturday morning.
  • Enterovirus outbreak hits New York

    Enterovirus outbreak hits New York

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:26 AM EDT2014-09-16 10:26:36 GMT
    The New York Health Department has confirmed that a viral-based severe respiratory illness has sickened several children in the state. New York is the latest state to confirm cases of sickness caused by enterovirus EV-D68. More than a dozen children are sick, officials said. The CDC has said this unusually severe outbreak has caused serious breathing problems.
    The New York Health Department has confirmed that a viral-based severe respiratory illness has sickened several children in the state. New York is the latest state to confirm cases of sickness caused by enterovirus EV-D68. More than a dozen children are sick, officials said. The CDC has said this unusually severe outbreak has caused serious breathing problems.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices