2nd Circuit Affirms Lower Court Dismissal of Onondaga Land Claim


This appeal is decided on the basis of the equitable bar on recovery of ancestral land in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation, 544 U.S. 197 (2005) (“Sherrill”), and this Court’s cases of Cayuga Indian Nation v. Pataki, 413 17 F.3d 266 (2d Cir. 2005) (“Cayuga”) and Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, 617 F.3d 114 (2010) (“Oneida”). Three specific factors determine when ancestral land claims are 20 foreclosed on equitable grounds: (1) “the length of time at issue between an historical injustice and the present day”;  (2) “the disruptive nature of claims long delayed”; and (3) “the degree to which these claims upset the justifiable expectations of individuals and entities far removed from the events giving rise to the plaintiffs’ injury.” Oneida, 26 617 F.3d at 127; see also Sherrill, 544 U.S. at 214, 221 (summarizing that the equitable considerations in this area are similar to “doctrines of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility,” and grew from “standards of federal Indian law and federal equity practice”) (internal quotation marks omitted). All three factors support dismissal.

Previous coverage here and here.

Second Circuit Hears Onondaga Land Claims Oral Arguments Today at New York Law School

Here is the NYLS website with the description of the appellate panel. [not sure why the link says moot court, because it seems all too real]

Here are the briefs:

Opening Brief


Amicus Brief [drafted by MSU ILPC]

State’s Brief

City of Syracuse and Corporate Appellee’s Brief

Tribal Reply

Briefs are also here.