Mohawks Hope To Avoid Court Battle In Land Claims Case

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St. Regis Mohawk tribal leaders want to negotiate a settlement to their land claims rather than go through a costly court battle.

And they hope talks between the affected parties happen soon.

The Mohawks say their claims are"factually different" than other land claims by the Oneida and Cayuga tribes.

The Mohawk tribe filed documents in federal court last week arguing that their claim should go forward, even though other tribes' land claims were dismissed in September.

The tribe says the Department of Justice and Department of Interior also support their efforts.

The Mohawks are claiming what's called the Hogansburg Triangle, Barnhart Island in Massena, two other islands in the St. Lawrence River, and Fort Covington in Franklin County. 

According to a release posted on the Mohawk tribe's website, the tribal council wants to resolve the decades-old land dispute through negotiations with the state, St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, and the towns that will be affected.

Chief Paul Thompson says "a negotiated settlement now would be in all parties' best interests."

Specific portions of the Mohawk land claim will now go before  U.S. District Court Judge Neil McCurn, who will decide if the case should move forward or be dismissed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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