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The six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy c. 1720. Graphic: <a href="">Nonenmacher</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy c. 1720. Graphic: Nonenmacher, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Onondaga land claim will go to OAS human rights commission

The Onondaga Indian Nation has brought its decade old land claim case to an international human rights commission.

A lawsuit first filed in 2005 argues land was illegally taken from the Onondagas in the 18th and 19th centuries. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in October.

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With domestic options exhausted, the nation has turned to international bodies. Onondaga Nation attorney Joe Heath says a ruling from the Organization of American State’s human rights commission would have no legal standing here, but could spur a new dialogue.

"Ultimately," Heath said," a resolution of this ancient problem will have to involve Congress and probably the state of New York and the Assembly. So there are political avenues that might be open if we could, well, we’d have to get the state to talk to us about this."

Heath and other Onondaga Nation leaders went to Washington D.C. to file the petition and hold a rally. A ruling and any recommendations from the commission could take several months, or even years.

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