Cayuga Indian Nation Request to Take Land into Trust
Recently, the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York (CIN or the Nation) has acquired fee title to approximately 130 acres of real property in the Counties of Cayuga and Seneca. While this newly acquired property is located within the area that was once occupied by the Cayuga people before the nineteenth century, it is not property over which the present CIN can assert sovereignty. Rather, this property is within the sovereign jurisdiction of the State of New York.
The CIN seeks to obtain the right to exercise sovereignty over these newly acquired lands by transferring their fee title to the federal government, which would hold the parcels in trust for the benefit of the CIN. The parcels are located in Seneca and Cayuga Counties. The CIN has applied to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for such transfer under 25 U.S.C. § 465 and 25 C.F.R. Part 151. A request was made for such transfer by letters dated April 14, 2005 and May 25, 2005 from a CIN Representative, Clint Halftown, to the Director of the Eastern Regional Office, United States Department of the Interior (DOI). Copies of these letters are linked above.
In separate correspondence dated November 30, 2005 and December 21, 2005 from the Director of the Eastern Regional Office, BIA to the Honorable George Pataki, Governor of the State of New York, the BIA requested comments from New York State concerning the annual amount of property taxes currently levied on the parcels, whether the parcels are subject to special assessments currently assessed on the subject parcels, how the parcels are currently zoned, and any governmental services that are currently provided to the property by State jurisdictions. The consulting firm of O'Brien & Gere was retained by the State of New York to assist in the preparation of these comments. Consistent with the BIA's guidance in the November 30, 2005 and December 21, 2005 letters, O'Brien & Gere prepared a report to address the areas identified by the BIA. This report, and the State's comments, can be found at the links above.
Related case documents:
New York State's Comments Regarding Trust Application (pdf, 1.21 Mb)
Letter Stating NYS' Opposition to Land Trust Application (pdf, 487 kb)
Report of Ian Ayres (pdf, 213 kb)