All business between other nations and the Iroquois was brought to the council fire of Onondaga.
– James Smith; The History of Chenango County: 1784 – 1880; page 13.
Andrew Cuomo is the first Governor of New York State to refuse to meet with the Iroquois Council of Chiefs. Despite numerous attempts by the Council to meet with the current governor, Andrew Cuomo has simply ignored them, and has failed to even acknowledge the Six Nations exist.
Governor Cuomo’s father had a very different approach to — and relationship with — the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. This began in 1975, when Governor Hugh Carey appointed him as Secretary of State; continued when Mario was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1978; and remained a significant factor after he was elected Governor in 1982, and was re-elected in 1986 and 1990.
Even the most rigidly right-wing Republican governors have had relationships with the Iroquois. The relationship between New York State and the Iroquois has, even in modern times, featured some very real tensions. In August and early September of 1971, for example, when NYS attempted to widen Interstate 88 south of Syracuse, where it passed through Onondaga Territory, Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered the NYS Police to “put down” the non-violent blockade of Iroquois blocking the proposed construction.
Literally as the police were preparing for a violent assault on the Onondaga and their supporters, Governor Rockefeller made an emergency call, redirecting the police to Attica State Prison. The very police officers who had hours before had their weapons trained upon the non-violent Iroquois would use these same guns to “resolve” the riot at Attica State Prison.
A quarter of a century later, Governor George Pataki would oversee a plan to have the State Police and National Guard conduct a military assault on Onondaga and several other Iroquois Territories. Days before the plan was to become operational, we learned about it by way of a “leak” from a state official with a conscience. Long story short: this allowed us to derail what would have been a violent and tragic chapter in New York State history.
The relationship between NYS and the Iroquois has been as damaged by purposeful distortions and outright lies in recent decades, as it has ever been. This has frequently been in regard to the “land claims” cases. State officials from both democratic and republican administrations in Albany play upon the ignorance of fears of the general public: these officials pretend that the Onondaga want to evict citizens from their homes and properties. In fact, the Onondaga have proposed no such thing; rather, they have suggested that the state clean up the many toxic industrial waste dumps that poison the environment, and cause disease and death in all living things.
I would suggest that it is no coincidence that Andrew Cuomo also refuses to meet with the grass roots pro-environment, anti-hydrofracking community. Likewise, Andrew’s purposeful misrepresentation of the grass roots positions is no accident: he continues to claim that the grass roots bases their position on “fears and emotions,” despite the massive scientific evidence of the irreversible damage fracking does to the environment.
Thus, I am going to present brief reviews of, and links to, a number of university studies that expose not only the truth about hydrofracking, but also the blatant dishonesty of Andrew Cuomo.
More, I would like to invite everyone to the opening day of this year’s New York State Fair, in Syracuse, NY, on August 23. Traditionally, the Governor leads the opening ceremony, and Andrew Cuomo is seeking to use this opportunity to build on the foundation of his planned 2016 presidential run. We need to engage in a rally there, to let Andrew Cuomo know that we will not allow our land to be hydrofracked, so that he can get gas industry contributions to finance his attempt to create the Dick Cheney-wing of the Democratic Party.