Judge Recommends Dismissing Bulk Of Mohawk Land Claims

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A federal magistrate has recommended dismissing Mohawk tribal land claims in northern New York except for the Hogansburg Triangle, approximately 2,000 acres by the St. Regis Reservation that extends along the Canadian border.
 
The ruling by Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks applies to three suits consolidated in 1991, claims by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs to more than 12,000 acres in Franklin and St. Lawrence counties and islands in the St. Lawrence River.
 
The suits claim the land was unlawfully transferred from original reservation land.

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal, meanwhile, is claiming the ruling as a victory.

“Our case for the Hogansburg Triangle has not been dismissed and we will continue to litigate and fight to get our land back for as long as it takes,” said tribal Chief Randy Hart. 
 
Dancks notes the disagreement between the tribes and defendant state of New York over whether the triangle is mainly populated by Mohawks.
 
Her recommendations will be considered by U.S. District Judge Neal McCurn.

A tribal news release says another round of briefs will be filed, eventually resulting in a decision by McCurn.

The process, the releases says, could take six months or more if the parties receive extensions or the judge does not rule quickly.

“We will pursue any and all alternatives to re-acquire our territory for our future generations,” Chief Ron LaFrance said.

See the news release.

See Dancks' complete ruling.

Monday, July 28, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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