Media Contact: Office of the Secretary
For Immediate Release: July 20, 1978

Interior Solicitor Leo M. Krulitz announced today the working groups formed to help work out negotiated settlements of the New York land claims of the Cayuga Nation and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe will resume meetings soon.

Krulitz said that since the working groups last met in March the two Tribes have offered settlement proposals which have been reviewed by both federal and New York State officials. Those officials concluded that the proposals, as pre­sented, were much too costly. But, Krulitz recently informed tribal representatives that their objectives might still be accomplished and suggested that there is ample room for further negotiation. The Tribes have assured him that they will reconsider their proposals, he said

"I feel more strongly now that these claims can and should be settled," Krulitz said. "I am confident that all parties are committed to that goal."

He added that the Administration is prepared to contribute financially to reasonable settlements of the Cayuga and Mohawk claims, and so is the State of New York. Krulitz and James W. Moorman, Assistant Attorney General for Land and Budget Resources, met last month with New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo to discuss the Tribes' proposals.

The working groups are made up of representatives of the Tribes, the State of New York, the Interior and Justice Departments and the Office of Management and Budget. Senator Daniel Moynihan and Jacob Javits are represented in the Cayuga Group and Rep. Robert C. McEwen in the Mohawk group.

The groups met on several occasions in January, February and March of this year before submission of the Tribes; proposals. The groups will now be expected to explore alternative approaches to settle the land claims. The Cayuga Nation claim is for 62,000 acres in Seneca and Cayuga Counties. The St. Regis Mohawk claim is for 15,000 acres in Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties. Both Tribes claim lands set aside for them in treaties with the Federal government in the 1790's. Shortly thereafter, however, those lands were acquired by New York State in transactions which the Tribes contend violated the Indian Nonintercourse Act of 1790. The Interior Department took the position in June 1977 that the Tribes have credible claims, and the settlements of those claims should be negotiated.