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Mohawk land claim talks to start soon

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HOGANSBURG — The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe will begin negotiations with the state within 10 days to reacquire property tribal leaders say was granted to them in a 2005 land claim settlement.

Tribal officials made the announcement Wednesday at an afternoon press conference at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino.

Chief Ronald W. LaFrance said in negotiations with the state they are also targeting free SUNY tuition for tribe members, a $2 million annual payment from the New York Power Authority for the next 35 years, and 9 megawatts of cut-rate power from NYPA, which was included in the land claim deal that failed in 2006 before it reached then-Gov. George Pataki’s desk.

Chief LaFrance said the Tribal Council feels an urgency in light of a rapidly growing community to reclaim the land, which it says was sold to the state without congressional approval between 1816 and 1845. According to the chief, the tribe will seek the “Bombay Triangle,” 3,000 acres in the town of Brasher, a small area in Rooseveltown, and a large chunk of Fort Covington, starting at Pike’s Creek and continuing east into downtown.

In a deal reached Tuesday, the tribe agreed to resume sending revenue from its casino to the state in exchange for gaming exclusivity and a promise to negotiate a settlement of long-standing land claims.

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