Seneca Nation Engages In Information Campaign With Native Nations And State Legislators
Seneca Nation Councillors recently have been engaging in an information campaign to garner support from Native Nations, as well as from New York State legislators, to ensure that the state engages in good faith compact negotiations pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Convention: In mid-May, Councillors William Canella and Presley Redeye, along with President Pagels, attended the ATNI 2022 Mid-Year Convention in Ferndale, Washington, where they explained the Nation’s recent conflicts with New York State over gaming issues. ATNI membership received our Nation officials favorably and passed a resolution that reads, in part, as follows:
WHEREAS, the Seneca Nation must now dialogue with [New York] state to obtain a new or amended gaming compact by December 2023, but is concerned that in light of the recent history between the parties, the state may not negotiate in good faith; and
WHEREAS, the Seneca Nation may need assistance from the Department of the Interior in order to take the state to court for a determination regarding the state’s lack of good faith negotiations; and
WHEREAS, a state should not be able to use its Eleventh Amendment immunity to violate IGRA without any recourse available to Native Nations; now
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that ATNI demands that states negotiate in good faith with Native Nations for new or amended gaming compacts, as required by IGRA; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department of the Interior establish guidance that can be used by Native Nations as a resource for establishing whether a state is acting in bad faith; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, to the extent that states fail to negotiate in good faith, ATNI urges the federal government to work with Native Nations to ensure that Native Nations are able to continue to engage in class III gaming activities consistent with IGRA.
The 2022 Reservation Economic Summit (RES)
Councillors Angie Kennedy and Presley Redeye were speakers on the Federal Legislative Policy panel at RES on May 24th . They spoke on the Seneca Nation gaming compact issues, informing many Native Nation leaders of the Seneca Nation’s compact struggles with New York State. Councillor Redeye provided the background of the issue and events leading up to today. Councillor Kennedy urged tribal leadership in attendance to submit their comments on the draft Part 293 Class III Tribal State Gaming Compact regulations by the June 30th deadline. Councillor Kennedy informed the audience, “The Seneca Nation is not the only Native Nation struggling with Interior’s existing regulations governing gaming compacts. You don’t realize how important the regulations are until you run into a problem or fight with the State.”
Councillors Arlene Bova, Eliot Jimerson and Robert Jones were also in attendance at RES. They attended numerous panels that would help the Seneca Nation make connections to business opportunities and expand its potential market.
Albany Meetings with State Legislators
On May 24th, Councillors Tina Abrams, Ross John, Tim Waterman, and Josh Jimerson had meetings in Albany with Sen. Joe Addabbo, Sen. Sean Ryan, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow. The Council also met with the Assembly Republican Conference (including Assemblymen Joe Giglio, Angelo Morinello and Andy Goodell) and with the Senate Republican Conference (including Senators George Borello, Rob Ortt and Pat Gallivan). During their meetings, the Councillors stressed the Seneca Nation’s massive economic impact on the western New York region, as well as the rest of the state. Gaming compact issues also were discussed including the requirement that New York negotiate a new or amended compact in good faith. Additionally, Councillors raised the subject of treaty hunting and fishing rights.