The Seneca Nation of Indians held a rally in Niagara Square in Buffalo on Friday to demand a new gaming agreement with New York State that is fair and equitable. Many of the tribe’s members are dissatisfied with the state’s recent handling of the tribe’s years-long casino payments dispute, which resulted in Albany freezing the tribe’s bank accounts.
The Seneca Nation ceased paying the state gaming share payments a few years ago. President of the Nation Matthew Pagels said in January of this year that the tribe is prepared to pay its financial obligations. The multi-million payment, however, was stopped by the nation since it had not been authorized by the council, prompting the state to take drastic actions such as suspending accounts.
Inequity in the Economy
Leslie Logan, a founding member of the Seneca Nation’s Mothers, spoke at the demonstration on Friday and called Gov. Hochul’s decision to freeze the accounts as “frightening.” Ms. Logan states that as a result of the shift, the Nation was unable to operate, including the inability to obtain medication and other essentials for people’s everyday lives.
Madison Brown also attended the Seneca Rally for Economic Justice, which drew 75 people, and revealed that both of her parents were unable to get a wage because the Nation’s funds had been blocked by the state. The tribe’s transportation, elder, and pharmaceutical services were all halted as a result of the pressure technique, according to her.
Ms. Logan, who was also the rally’s organizer, said that those who had assembled in Niagara Square were there to criticize New York State. This was a protest against the Empire State’s economic unfairness towards the tribe, according to her. In addition, the demonstrators want the Nation to replace the present gaming agreement with a new one that is more equitable.
Members of the Nation want the agreement to include tax benefits, governmental subsidies, investments, and other incentives. “Seneca Economic Footprint: 4,500 Jobs, $2.3 Billion; NO State Subsidies, NO Investment,” read a banner during the event. According to Odie Porter, a member of the Seneca Mothers, the Tribe has spent approximately US$2.3 billion in the state but has gotten nothing in return.
The Mothers of the Nation were among the first to challenge the tribe’s choice to pay the state US$564.8 million in casino earnings in January. The members contended that the payment was illegitimate since it was not approved by the Tribal Council. Furthermore, Seneca women have established a petition to protest the decision.
Criticizing the Government in Public
According to sources, New York is allegedly planning to use Seneca Nation’s newly given funds to construct a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. And the tribe is dissatisfied with the decision, airing multiple television and radio commercials criticizing the state. According to the advertisements, rather than investing in the local economy as inflation grows, Albany has opted to spend the money to build a new NFL stadium.