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Fed government will take land into trust for Oneida

May 21, 2008

NEW YORK -- As reported by the Syracuse Post Standard: "The Oneida Indian Nation on Tuesday turned a major defeat into a major triumph.

"After a stinging loss in 2005 at the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation took the court's suggestion and immediately asked that all 17,370 acres of nation-owned land be taken into tax-free federal trust.

"Tuesday, the Department of Interior agreed to put into trust three-quarters of that land - 13,004 acres - including the profitable Turning Stone casino. The decision solidifies the nation's sovereignty and puts the land beyond local and state government control.

"The Oneida people are sincerely grateful to everyone whose hard work has led to this initial step toward further securing our Oneida homelands,' nation leader Ray Halbritter said in a prepared statement.

"The Interior Department, acting under a 1934 law that sought to restore the homelands of tribes across the United States, said the Oneidas needed trust land for their economic and cultural self-sufficiency.

"...Tuesday's decision is likely to launch yet another court battle between the Oneidas and local citizens groups and governments..."

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