Whose Land Is It Anyway? US Feds Vs Seneca Nation
Today a team of U.S. federal agents raided Wolf Run, a popular business owned by two members of the Seneca Nation known for speaking out about the taxation of Native American cigarettes. What were they looking for, who got arrested and who’s land is it anyway?? Details inside.
Michael “Spike” John, a member of the Seneca Tribal Council told the Buffalo News he spotted a “large caravan of State troopers and ATF agents” headed to Wolf’s Run late this morning.
In recent months, a number of trucks carrying cigarettes made by Seneca businesses have been stopped and searched by police or federal agents, John said.
“It’s frustrating. We’ve been fighting for our sovereignty a long time. They have been seizing truckloads of cigarettes made by our own people,” John said. “I’d like to know what’s going on, and who is inviting the feds onto our territory.”
I’ll tell you what’s going on. Uncle Sam can’t stand to see a brown man come up! First New York State violated the agreement that allows Indian casinos to be the only game in Western New York, and now he is trying to regulate what Natives buy, sell and trade on sovereign land.
In June, federal prosecutors in Missouri filed to seize an airplane, some tractors and nearly $1.4 million in cash that may have been obtained by the Wolf Run’s selling of non-taxed cigarettes, gasoline, and food.
The non-criminal complaint lists several cigarette businesses in Western New York as “subjects of the investigation or persons of interest,” including AJ’s Wholesale in Irving, owned by Aaron J. Pierce. Pierce is one of the candidates in an upcoming election for Seneca Nation president.
Interestingly enough, the FDA considers Indian Reservations to be possessions of the United States. Under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FDA has the same authority on a reservation as it does anywhere else, to inspect, to take official samples, and to initiate regulatory actions.