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Payments By Senecas To State Bring Criticism

Gaming funds and a compact deal with New York state remain a matter of contention for the Seneca Nation of Indians.

After the Seneca Nation Council voted to release $564 million in disputed funds, the Mothers of the Seneca Nation issued this statement. “The State used strong-arm coercive tactics, forcing a freeze of the Nation’s bank accounts over the weekend,” a statement released Monday night said. “These overly aggressive actions were in violation of a federal court order, as the Seneca Nation was given until April 8, 2022, in line with an established court schedule. Instead, Governor (Kathy) Hochul froze Seneca Nation accounts, beyond the disputed gaming funds in the restricted escrow account, and inflicted economic harm, crippling the Nation’s business operations.

“The Mothers of the Seneca Nation fought tirelessly in fierce opposition against the prevailing tide of attacks by a Goliath New York State in an effort to protect the assets of the Nation for the benefit of the people and our children’s future.

“The Mothers of the Nation maintain that the most recent economic aggression by the state to paralyze the Nation’s economy would not have been tolerated by any other community or race of people.

“The Mothers of the Nation remain dedicated to safeguarding the Nation, actively defending our sovereignty, and will continue to act as a constitutional check and balance in our governance.”

Early this morning, the Erie County Libertarian Party in New York state also criticized actions that froze the Seneca bank accounts. Duane Whitmer, Erie County Libertarian Party Chairman, stated “In typical progressive, big government ideology, politicians-instead of cutting costs or cutting their own bloated insider spending-are going after a small demographic to cover the gaping holes in the budget,” he said. “Instead of doing their jobs and solving the massive budget deficit-which was projected at $18 billion pre-COVID-they are going to steal from someone else to cover their incompetence. I hope somebody in Hochul’s office has the decency to explain to her how wrong this is, and I hope that these pro-government violence legislators wake up and realize the effects that this move has. Freezing these accounts will devastate the Seneca community, and in some situations a financial blockade can be considered an act of war. We stand with the Senecas and look forward to providing any support they need.”

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