Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Stage is Set for a Rough 2009
Anyone who heard what the Seneca Nation had to say today that believes it was little more than sabre rattling may be right. But what was hidden in those words was the implicit approval for the Seneca People to begin taking action themselves. With the Seneca Nation officials asserting a legal claim to the land the Thruway passes through, it is just a matter of time before travel is interrupted. Mr. Paterson has started a ball rolling that will inevitably come back around to crush his tenure as governor. With all his budget problems, picking a fight with Native People in eleven communities spread throughout the State is just stupid. Unlike for Mr. Paterson, our people have seen this all before. The difference this time is that our people have more resources, experience and incentive, while the State has a police force that has made it clear they want no piece of this and a budget that has no room for another 30 million dollar debacle(that's in 1997 dollars). The State needs to finally stop jumping to the commands of the convenience store lobby and Big Tobacco and take a look at why they are so passionate about attacking our commerce. State tax law allows its residents to have up to two cartons of cigarettes at any given time with no NYS or NYC tax paid anywhere in the State with no tax liability imposed upon them. With this move from the State, what is being proposed is a scenario where the State continues to look the other way as its residents leave the State to avoid its oppressive tax burden while digging in against Native retailers that contribute to the State's economy. The convenience stores oppose us because they can't set up shop on our territories. They can, however, set up across any city, county or state line that gives them and advantage. Big Tobacco is gunning for us because we are chipping away at their market share with our own manufactured products. When we were providing cheap access to their product, they bent over backwards to accommodate us. Big Tobacco fought over us for shelving contracts and premium display space. They provided promotional discounts on their products creating even more price disparity with the convenience stores. When Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds could no longer keep the Native products on the bottom shelf they joined in the opposition. The People of the Six Nations know we are right. Not everybody is a "treaty" expert, but we don't need to be. We are not defined by treaties. Our sovereignty is a birth right. In the last treaty between the US and the Six Nation, the United States acknowledged the lands we possessed to be our property and swore to never claim it or disturb us in our use of it. No right or privilege was given in these treaties, the US simply acknowledged what always was. As I stated in a previous post, Democracy does not happen in a voting booth, it may happen on the New York State Thruway.