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Disecting the Cayuga Land Claim & Casino Deal

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Last week Governor Pataki and the Cayuga Nation, based in the Finger Lakes region, announced an agreement in principle on land claims and a casino in the Catskills. New York would pay the Cayugas $247.9 million to settle its decades old land claim lawsuit. The money would come from the state's share of gaming revenues from a casino resort the Cayugas would build in the Catskills. The Cayugas could then use that money to buy up to 10,000 acres of land. The deal would also establish tax parity between Cayuga-owned gas and tobacco stores and non-native stores. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, near Massena, signed a similar pact just over a year ago. But a tribal referendum killed the deal. David Sommerstein spoke with Jon Parmenter, a history professor at Cornell University and an expert in Iroquois history and politics. He says there are important differences between the Mohawk and Cayuga situations.

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