The past few years the Onondaga Nation has been very active in the media for their political and racial standings, such as the Washington Redskins controversy. Last week was on something different: the request for a review of land rights lawsuits. In the lawsuits, Supreme Court has been one of the majority leaders in the rejection and unconcerned actions towards the indigenous community on this subject.
After 10 years of appealing to the government to examine the merit process of the previous trials for the Onondaga people, they have had enough.
The Onondaga Nation filed a petition with the Organization of American State’s Intern-American Commission on Human Rights. The petition covers the issue that the U.S. government decided not to hear its lawsuit for the return of 2.5 million acres in northern New York, Pennsylvania and some parts of Canada.
The final return of the petition for the hearing in the land rights case was returned in October, which commenced the new petition against the US on the human rights violation. The petition is being used, according to the Washington Post and Onondaga Nation, as a means to clean the environment on the land in which the treaties were designated.
While the main voice within the petition is the Onondaga people the petition also speaks for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca people.
The validity of the human rights violation is clearly fitting in this case for the Onondaga people. The action the U.S. government Supreme Court has taken is questionable in the motives of not allowing the lawsuit to go to trial.
In the first attempt at trial, the Oneida Nation was in the forefront, having the Supreme Court rule against them, stating that the nation took too long to file a claim against the treaties and land rights. If the court were to take into account the lack of resources and oppression on indigenous people their “timeliness” should be excused.
According to Indian Country Today Media Network, the court was quoted stating that if they were to return the land “it would be too disruptive” to those who are currently living in the area. One can also say that the court’s reasoning in this case is incredibly hypocritical on the U.S. Governments history of being “disruptive” of current occupants.
By taking into consideration the amount of time the Onondaga and Haudenosaunee Confederacy has dedicated for just a trial in the lower courts makes the Supreme Court look outrageous and dismissive of issues that are passionate among indigenous people.
The Onondaga Nation’s lawyer, Joe Heath, was quoted stating that the “[The Onondagas] are not going to stop talking about their land and to obtain a moral victory…”
In this day and age, most of the indigenous issues involve moral issues and the attempt to get governments to acknowledge their wrong doings, attribute credit to those who have impacted the land and people both gracefully and respectfully.
Generally, indigenous people, throughout history want to achieve equality and recognition as first people and current world citizens. In these 10 years the Supreme Court has been a disappointing example and role model for the American people’s beliefs and actions.