June 18, 2010

Tribe sues to get Manhattan back

New Jersey Indian Tribe Files Suit For Ownership Of Manhattan

A New Jersey-based tribe has laid claim to Manhattan in a lawsuit.

By Nina Mandell
In the latest twist in a two-year battle, the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians filed a suit in a New Jersey court claiming it owns Manhattan, as well as the Hudson New Jersey, Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania.

While the lawsuit may seem unrealistic, tribe spokesperson Laura Zucker said they are confident in their case.

“Oh no, they’re going to win, there’s no question about it,” she said. “They do have a really good case, and they know it. They’re in it to win it.”

The suit claims that the tribe’s land was stolen from them through a series of fraudulent treaties that violated international treaty laws. They are seeking the “return [of] all land, water, trees, etc. encompassing the fraudulent 'Manhattan' purchase, damages, and punitive damages,” according to court documents.
Sand Hill Indians Claim Manhattan

By Jillian ScharrThe Sand Hill are seeking "re-establishment of a land base for the tribe, federal as well as international recognition as a sovereign people, and back remuneration for the use of natural resources and assets that were taken illegally," Sand Hill Government Liaison Laura I. Zucker told NBC New York in an emailed statement.

Sand Hill Chief Ronald Holloway filed the first lawsuit in 2009 against the State of New Jersey, charging then-Governor Corzine and members of the state administration with "violation of human rights, genocide, and breaking of treaties etc." according to the press release.

On April 20, Holloway appeared before the United Nations, accusing the federal courts of "deliberate stalling," wrote Zucker. "The UN has agreed to review the case to see if it can go to the Hague," she wrote, but they have not confirmed whether or not it will go.

This week, Holloway filed a motion amending the first to include claims on Manhattan and parts of Pennsylvania and Delaware as well as New Jersey.
Comment:  Not only does this lawsuit seem unrealistic, it seems like one of the most unrealistic lawsuits of all time. Compared to this, suing Bush and Cheney for war crimes would be a sure thing.

This story almost seems like an Onion spoof. But I found it in two sources, including the Associated Press, so it must be real.

For more on the subject, see How Mannahatta Became Manhattan and Indians Buy Manhattan for $24.


Litigate All said...

I see nothing wrong with this lawsuit, as a matter of fact, there should be more suits starting with the complete copyrights and infringement on tribal names, iconography, imagery, songs, native regalia and dances and tradional ceremonies like sweats and the use of teepees.

Until American Indians become vocal and litigate for a cut of the profits and use of indigenous culture for entertainment or profit, non-Indians will think twice about wearing headdresses and using words/symbols that represent a living people.

Anonymous said...

This is the most ridiculous lawsuit ever. I hope the court throws out the case.

Rob said...

No matter what the tribe says, I think this is more of a publicity stunt than a real lawsuit.