Eric White of the Seneca Indian Tribe owns the Big Indian Smoke Shop in Irving, New York, and he along with a number of other native-owned businesses have been in an ongoing legal battle with the state of New York over taxes.
On March 15, a New York Judge issued a ruling which fined White $2.4 million for allegedly selling unstamped, untaxed cigarettes in 2012. White says that his business is entirely legal and that his products are not subject to state taxes because they are native brands that are being shipped from one reservation to another, meaning that this is native business that is not the government’s concern. White also says that he has been harassed by state police, who have illegally stopped and searched his vehicles.
Furthermore, the fines that were issued against White are three and a half times what the cigarettes were worth.
White filed a lawsuit against the state on the grounds that these fines violate Indian Law Section 6, which states “No taxes shall be assessed, for any purpose whatever, upon any Indian reservation in this state, so long as the land of such reservation shall remain the property of the nation, tribe or band occupying the same.”
State officials moved to dismiss the suit, saying Indian Law Section 6 and the Treaty of 1842 only apply to state taxation of land or real property.
To fight against this massive injustice, White is building his own exit ramp from the highway that leads directly to his business.
Paul Cambria, White’s attorney, says that he does not believe that the government has any right to tell him what to do on tribal lands.
“Eric is currently exploring the authority of the Thruway easements over his land… He feels the state is taking advantage of nation people….he believes there is no valid easement that the Thruway has over sovereign territory,” Cambria told WGRZ.
A spokesperson for the New York State Thruway Authority responded to the construction of the ramp in a statement, saying that, “The safety of motorists is paramount and we are looking into the matter to ensure the work does not interfere with the operation of the Thruway.”
The Seneca Nation was quick to distance themselves from White’s action, despite the fact that they understand his frustration with the state’s unfair taxation of native people.
“While we are aware of the activity being undertaken by an individual on the Cattaraugus Territory, the Seneca Nation has no role whatsoever in what is taking place. Although we know the reason for his actions, we look for a safe resolution addressing this situation,” a statement from the Seneca Nation read.
The Seneca Nation is instead attempting to fight these battles in the courts. Last month, the Seneca Nation filed a lawsuit against the state of New York for building a toll road on tribal lands, in the same region that this smoke shop is located.
“After decades of seeing our property invaded without authorization from the federal government that is required to protect our Native land, we find it necessary to take legal action against these State officials. We are not seeking to cause any disruption, but rather to ensure that the New York State authorities comply with federal law and gain approval from the Department of Interior for the Thruway that encroaches on 300 acres of land that has belonged to the Nation and our ancestors for generations,” Seneca Nation President Todd Gates said after the lawsuit was filed.
Many years after this land was stolen by the US government, they continue to persecute native groups. In the state of New York, where many people don’t even realize that native lands exist, the US government is still taxing these people and unjustly taking their land.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.