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US Supreme Court declines Onondaga Nation’s request

200 years seems like a short time to me: 4 generations, or around 4 of my lifetimes. My grandmother’s grandfather was born 200 years ago, on land in Pennsylvania that his ancestors moved onto without permission from the people who had been using it for centuries.

William Procious, my grandmother's grandfather

William Procious
My grandmother’s grandfather

October 15, 2013, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the Onondaga Nation’s request for us to honor the treaties that my European ancestors made with them 200 years ago. They said that the Onondagas waited too long before filing the petition, yet it was only just recently that US law allowed the Onondagas to bring their case to court!

I don’t see what harm would come from granting the Onondaga Nation the request. They are simply asking for us to live in harmony, side-by-side, as my ancestors promised to do when they arrived. In the petition to the courts, they asked us to clean up the land and water that we destroyed and that we all rely on for our livelihood. The court replied that this would be too disrupting.

I feel indebted to the original settlers of this land for the abundance that I have. I owe it to them to use this land respectfully. I don’t think that honoring the treaties is asking too much. I honor them as I care for the land and water around my part of the globe.

You can read the original treaties

April 7, 2014: See the update on this issue

7 responses to “US Supreme Court declines Onondaga Nation’s request”

  1. The deplorable treatment of Native American cultures by the US government just never ends. Ugh.


    1. Cary, I am always seeking silver linings. Perhaps if the Onondaga’s decide to file a challenge in the international arena (which looks likely), this will help make things right on a larger scale. “Deplorable treatment” has no place anywhere.


  2. I received a letter just now to the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (see their link in the sidebar) from Joe Heath, attorney for the Onondaga Nation. He wrote,

    “If the Onondaga Nation were able to exercise its sovereignty over Onondaga Lake, what would that mean for us in Central New York?”

    That made me pause in silent stillness for a while. Then, I drew a long, deep breath as I thought about how different everything could be if We honored the treaties and cared for the land. Less toxic pollution. More native, non-invasive plantings and technology to clean up the industrial waste

    The letter also stated that they are preparing a petition to the Organization of American States or the United Nations, because the U.S. is accountable to them.

    In the meantime, let’s do what we can to be honorable stewards of our small patches of sacred land.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find this such a difficult topic to discuss because it makes me so angry, to the point of not even being able to talk about it calmly. What the U.S. did is shameful and grotesque. I hope the Onondaga Nation does go to the U.N. and wins there, which at least would be some small measure of justice.

    And don’t even get me started on the “Redskins” football team! I’ve passionately disliked that name for 20 years. I can’t believe people know it’s racist and still support them. Ok, I should stop.

    Thanks for another enlightening post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A presentation on the international stage might also give the international community an opportunity to find a way to discuss this issue, and face difficult issues regarding colonization.

      Thanks Jessica for caring about this issue, and for being such a caring person in general.


      1. It’s hard not to care about such a violation of a people’s rights. Thanks for caring, too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. […] US Supreme Court declines Onondaga Nation’s request […]


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