Box One: Legal and Government Documents


Box One contains all of the legal documents that are relevant to the lease negotiations. Due to United States federal laws, negotiations with the Seneca Nation had to be approved by Congress. This led to laws being created for the establishment of the Salamanca Indian Lease Authority (SILA), and the approval of the 1990 lease agreement (Seneca Settlement Act of 1990). Also in the collection of legal documents are copies of the original laws and treaties with provisions that would be relevant to the new lease. These legal documents dealt with issues such as the renewability of the lease, and the ownership of improvements to properties on Seneca lands. Throughout the time period of the lease negotiations, there were several court cases that challenged these existing laws and challenged the laws created to facilitate the 1990 lease. These court cases challenged the creation of SILA, the non-renewability of the original 99 year lease, and challenged the City of Salamanca to make the lease payment in 1992.


The second set of documents in Box One are official correspondences, memos, and reports from the governments of the Seneca Nation, City of Salamanca, State of New York, and the U.S Federal government. The first set of materials concerns the operation and function of the Joint Lease Committee (JLC). This committee's function was to negotiate disputes and problems that arose between the Seneca Nation and individual lessees in Salamanca. There is also an extensive collection of official documents and minutes from city meetings that involved SILA. These documents are important for understanding lease negotiations because SILA is the organization that negotiated with the Seneca Nation. Other documents from the City of Salamanca include reports on the operations of SILA, the erosion of the tax base in Salamanca, due to the lease and declining population and a report and planning for more efficient land use management in the City of Salamanca. Seneca Nation documents include correspondence with the City of Salamanca concerning confusion over the lease, non-payment of the lease in 1992, subsequent late charges because of non-payment, and letters to individual lessees concerning rejection of the lease and other lease related matters. Federal government documents concern an oversight hearing about the lease negotiations, correspondence of the legality of negotiations, and correspondence with Senator Daniel Inouye in 1992 concerning non-payment of that year's lease payment and the demand by Salamanca citizens for federal government intervention.

JLC=Joint Lease Committee
SCOUT=Salamance Coalition of United Taxpayers
SILA=Salamanca Indian Lease Authority
SNI=Seneca Nation of Indians


1.1-1970 Lease Proposal.
1.2- 1990 Lease Agreement/Lease Contract, Legal documents that explain legality of leasing Indian lands.
1.3- FAQ information about new lease agreement, Information about refusing to accept new lease terms.
1.4- Resolution that declared the lease agreement void.
1.5- Copy of the 1990 Lease Agreement.
1.6- Lease Briefing for SNI Council, Minutes from SNI council sessions concerning lease agreement.
1.7- Information sheet about non-payment of lease
1.8- Legal basis for the establishment of the Salamanca Indian Lease Authroity (SILA).
1.9- Bill Jacket for NYS Assembly bills 5675-A and 5677-B, establishing SILA.
1.10- Court case brought against the City of Salamanca and SILA by Joseph Fluent and the Salamanca Coalition of United Taxpayers (SCOUT).
1.11- Court document dismissing SCOUT lawsuit.
1.12- Plaintiff Brief in SCOUT appeal after case was dismissed.
1.13- Complete collection of SCOUT lawsuits and decisions.
1.14- Court case Maurice John v. City of Salamanca concerning whether NYS regulations applied to Indians on reservation lands within Salamanca.
1.15- Court Case Yehl v. Salamanca in which the plaintiffs sued the city council over the non-payment of the 1992 Seneca lease payment.
1.16- Decision of 1942 court case City of Salamanca v. United States.
1.17- Court case Oneida Indian Nation v. Oneida County, showed how United States v. Forness could be used in court.
1.18- United States v. Forness, dealt with the leasing of Native American Lands.
1.19- Second copy of U.S v. Forness.
1.20- Copy of the Iroquois Constitution.
1.21- Original Lease Treaty 1870's.
1.22- Breifing book that outlines why the SNI cannot be taxed by NYS.
1.23- "Pickering Treaty of 1794" that established Seneca Land in NYS.
1.24- Article outlining the "Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842" and its effects.
1.25- Public Law 101-503, H.R. 5367,Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990, allowed negotitation of Seneca leases.
1.26- Public Law 690, H.R 4942, establishing rules for collection of lease payments and negotiations in 1950.
1.27- Jurisdiction Acts 1948-1950; applied State law to Native Americans.
1.28- Laws granting the SNI exemption from taxes.
1.29- NYS Law providing funds as part of the 1990 Lease agreement and Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990.
1.30- Federal Government law that declares land part of the Allegany reservation.
1.31- Consolidated NYS Indian Laws and applications.
1.32- Handbook of Federal Indian Law, compiled by Felix S. Cohen, 1940's; excerpt: Chapter 22 New York Indians.
1.33- Federal Indian Law and Treaty book by Kappler, excerpts relevant to SNI and Native American land leases.
1.34- NYS Law concerning payment to SNI for lands part of Kinzua Dam project.
1.35- Documents from the Indian Claims Comission for a settlement made with the SNI about damages caused by bad leases.
1.36- U.S Department of Justice policy on Indian Sovereignty, and Fluent cases.
1.37- Assorted Federal and NYS court cases involving Native Americans.
1.38- More assorted Federal and NYS Indian Policy.
1.39- 1848 court case that allowed inheritance of indian land.
1.40- Miscellaneous Supreme Court Cases involving Native Americans.
1.41- Jackson v. Goodell 1822, dealt with Indian inheritance of land through descendancy.
1.42- Legal proceedings in a 1931 congressional hearing about the Salamanca Lease issue.
1.43- Article dealing with the application of the 11th Amendment to Native American land claims.
1.44- Summarized report on the soverign status of native americans and the impact of being federally recognized.

Government Documents

1.45- Document concerning JLC budget and its role in approving lease payments, Statement on creation of JLC and its functions.
1.46- Correspondence concerning JLC business from 1992, mainly concerning its creation, functions, budget.
1.47- More 1992 JLC correspondence, Dispute Forms, Letters to Congress, City Council meeting minutes.
1.48- Letter sent from JLC to City Council concerning Senator Inouye's offer to mediate lease dispute.
1.49- Official Letter confirming appointmen to JLC, Letter confirming interview appointment, Letter concerning insurance for fifth JLC member.
1.50- copy of 1990 Lease Agreement, JLC Technical Document, Index of Lease related documents, copy of public law: Seneca Settlement Act of 1990 and other laws relevant to JLC function.
1.51- Documents from Dec. 1998 meeting discussing JLC budget and finances, lease calculations.
1.52- Minutes from government meetings that involved SILA.
1.53- More minutes from SILA related government meetings.
1.54- SILA minutes.
1.55- SILA minutes.
1.56- SILA memos, outlines lease problem, creation of SILA, renewability of leases, press release by SILA, court documents from lawsuit with SCOUT.
1.57- SILA memos concerning; the sale of land to City of Salamanca, the renewability of leases, proposals to solve lease problem, propsal to seek funding to solve lease problem, lease agreement.
1.58- Report given to incoming mayor on the duties, responsabilties and functions of SILA.
1.59- Report on the issue of tax erosion in the City of Salamanca.
1.60- Documents concerning tax erosion; propsed solution, jurisdictional parameters, requested actions to NYS, requested action to U.S Congress, tax analysis sheets, plan to solve erosion problem.
1.61- City of Salamanca Comprehensive Plan; to efficiently use City land.
1.62- Correspondence between SNI and City of Salamanca Mayor concerning non-payment of 1992 lease payment.
1.63- Correspondence between SNI and COS, press release concerning confusion about lease agreement provisions.
1.64- Letter from SNI, to Carol Kelly on consequences of rejecting 1990 lease agreement.
1.65- SNI letter to Daryll and Gail Wetherby, in response to letters recieved by the SNI, concerning the new lease and its provisions.
1.66- Letter to SNI from Gregory and Chester Banner concerning renewal options other than the 40/40 lease agreed from the 1990 agreement.
1.67- Correspondence between SNI and COS concerning late charges for 1992 lease payment.
1.68- A series of 6 informational pamphlets to tell the story of the SNI.
1.69- Revison and copy of the SNI Timber Ordinance.
1.70- Decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the case of SNI leadership in 1995.
1.71- EPA report on Environmental reform of the SNI environmental policy.
1.72- 1932 audit on the recipts and expenditures of money arising from the leasing of oil, gas and land from Cattaragus and Allegany Reservations.
1.73- Department of the Interior correspondence about the legality of renewing leases of Seneca land.
1.74- Minutes from a congressional oversight hearing concerning the lease issue.
1.75- Presentation packet to Senator Daniel Inouye, and his letter written in response to the presentation.
1.76- Breifing book outlining lease questions, flowchart showing the process of negotiations, legal information concerning lease.

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3

This site was created by Ethan Coulter as part of a history internship in the Fall 2016 semester.


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For information about the Salamanca Lease Negotiation  collection contact:
telephone: 716.375.2322

Friedsam Memorial Library
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY  14778  USA
(716) 375-2323 (general number)
(716) 375-2389  (fax)

Last updated:  10/17/16
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