Stolen Land: Western Mohegan Nation Seeks President Obama's Intervention For Justice

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Posr A. Posr

[Open Letter]

WESTERN MOHEGAN TRIBE AND NATION OF NEW YORK AND VERMONT

By: Posr A. Posr; Attorney General [Western Mohegan]

posrposr@gmail.com

Dear President Obama,   

Dated: 2015 Feb 17

Only the President, enforcing Executive Order 13061, of 1997 Sep 11 [fn 1], with a specifically worded Executive Order can prevent the unfair and unjust extinction of the Mohegan Tribe that has remained in their original New York homeland after having successfully aided General George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

Please directly direct the Publisher of the Federal Register, or the Interior Department, to publish notice of the tribal status of the Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation of New York, and please direct the publishing of “ Chief Golden Eagle, aka Ronald Roberts”, in the Office of Federal Acknowledgement’s “Chief’s Directory” as of 1997 Jul 03 when the Supreme Court of the State of New York adjudicated our sovereignty or as of 1998 Oct 27 when President Clinton acknowledged our sovereignty by letter.

After $2 million of our tribal dollars were taken in exchange for part of our tribal land back in Ulster County, after Ulster County passed a unanimous Resolution declaring our sovereignty, after Ulster County entered into a contract binding itself to our sovereignty, after the Supreme Court of the State of New York in the Dier Decision adjudicated our sovereignty, after a federal Bankruptcy Judge approved our sovereignty in contract with Ulster County, after the U.S. Army declared Schodack Island as our “ tribal “ burial ground pursuant to 33 U.S.C. § 2338, after President Clinton recognized our sovereignty [and the Departments of Defense, Justice and Interior did not oppose President Clinton’s recognition] in the context of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, our land was taken without Congressional approval, without the N.Y. Legislature’s authority and consent, without giving us our money back and all of a sudden we are not a tribe anymore.

In short, while the seller did have a legitimate lien on our property until we paid a $622,462.58 debt for the land. We paid that debt in full as the seller’s Bankruptcy Disclosure Report [fn 2] indicates: “ ...Western paid the...balance of $622.462.58 at the second closing that was held on October 16, 2001.”

However, the seller, without our knowledge or consent, with the assistance of our own lawyer, transferred the lien to someone else even though we paid the seller fully. Our own lawyer then acquired the lien and sold our property for $489,000.

This lien transfer to a third party was falsely legitimized in the Courts by the claim that the deed was transferred free and clear and then we just gave the lien to the seller after we partially paid the debt.

Not only is that ridiculous because partial payment for a free and clear deed is an unsound business practice, but technically, a deed that has a lien written into and onto its face can never be transferred free and clear until the lien is extinguished or assigned to the buyer.

As a lawyer Mr. President, you know that if a lien is written into the face of a deed and transferred then;

[a] That deed is not transferred free and clear of the lien written into the deed, and

[b] That deed will not be transferred free and clear until and unless the lien is either:

[b1]    Extinguished or

[b2]    Transferred to the buyer.

The Courts from Ulster County to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in their papers are refusing to acknowledge:

[a]    The lien written into and onto the face of the deed,

[b]    The lack of the lien’s extinguishment or transfer to us after we paid $2 million, and

[c]    The recognition of our sovereignty by numerous official entities.

Most disturbing, is the refusal of those official entities to honor the U.S. Army’s Tribal Burial Ground declaration pursuant to 33 U.S.C. § 2338 and an explicit “ government-to-government” letter by the U.S. Department of the Army [fn 3].

It appears, although the U.S. Supreme Court is still available to us, that the President is our only hope to avoid what appears to be certain extinction. The President, under 25 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 9, is fully authorized and morally correct to right this great injustice. The Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation of New York appeals to the President to right this by issuing a specifically worded Executive Order extending back to at least 1998 Oct 27, but in the nature of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, back to 1997 Jul 03, the date of the Dier Decision adjudicating our sovereignty.

THE HISTORY OF PRESIDENT CLINTON’S RECOGNITION OF THE TRIBAL STATUS OF THE WESTERN MOHEGAN TRIBE AND NATION OF NEW YORK

On 1997 Jun 25 Governor Pataki recognized the Western Mohegan. [fn 4]. On 1997 Jul 03 Hon. John G. Dier, Supreme Court of the State of New York declared that:

“ ...Ronald A. Roberts is the Chief of the Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation.” [fn5]

On 1997 Aug 20, Chief Roberts wrote President Clinton. Chief Roberts’ first sentence in that letter to President Clinton was:

“ ...I am writing to request a letter from you acknowledging the existence of the Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation of New York so that we can fulfill our rightful role as participants in the life of the Hudson River valley. “ [fn 6]

President Clinton did not immediately acknowledge the tribal status of the Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation, but a mere twenty two days after Chief Roberts’ request for tribal acknowledgment, on 1997 Sep 11, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13061 [fn 7] .

The American Heritage Rivers Initiative has three objectives, one of which consists of the ”historic and cultural preservation” of the Hudson River. President Clinton preserved the history and culture of the Hudson River with a letter, on his behalf, that preserved the tribal status of the Western Mohegan’s relationship with the Hudson River and General George Washington.

On 1998 Jan 20 the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service Field Supervisor, Sherry Morgan, acknowledged the tribal status of the Western Mohegan in a letter addressed to “Golden Eagle, Ronald Roberts, Sachem “ stating:

“ We look forward to continued coordination with the Mohegan Nation. “

Field Supervisor Morgan forwarded that acknowledgment to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior. Field Supervisor Morgan’s tribal 1998 Jan 20th acknowledgment was never opposed by either federal agency [fn 8].

On 1998 Jul 30 Chief Roberts, by invitation, spoke to the assembled at the inaugural event of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative [footnote 9]. At the inaugural the Executive Agent for the Department of Defense Army Secretary Westphal introduced the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable Louis J. Caldera who reposed acknowledgment of the tribal status of the Western Mohegan and Chief Roberts, by name, in the public memory of the assembled [fn 10].

Eighteen days later, on 1998 Aug 17, Senators Alphonse M. D’Amato and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in addition to House Representatives Benjamin A. Gilman and Maurice D. Hinchey, urged President Clinton to issue an explicit reaffirmation of the tribal status of the Western Mohegan [fn 11].

Two months later, on 1998 Oct 17, President Clinton satisfied Chief Roberts’ 1997 Aug 20 letter requesting President Clinton to acknowledge the tribality of the Western Mohegan [fn 12].

However neither Chief Roberts’ nor the joint Senator/House letter directly requested President Clinton to issue an Executive Order specifically directing the Publisher of the Federal Register, pursuant to either 25 U.S.C. §§ 2 or 9 to publish notice of our tribal status.

By letter dated 1999 Oct 14, the Secretary of the Army, recognizing the Western Mohegan tribe’s wise aboriginal use of the land for thousands of years, granted the tribe a property right to enter onto our ancestral burial grounds at Houghtalling Island in Greene County, New York to conduct prayers, rituals and honor our heritage and ancestors [fn 13].

The Secretary of the Army’s 1999 Oct 14 grant of a tribal property right to enter our ancestral burial grounds occurred pursuant to [a] 33 USC §§ 1 and 2338, and [b] in the context of President Clinton’s Executive Order 13061 and [c] President Clinton’s letter dated 1998 Oct 17.

On 2000 Dec 07 the Ulster County Legislature of the State of New York unanimously resolved to recognize the tribal status of the Western Mohegan [fn 14]. The Governor of Vermont has recognized the Western Mohegan, although I do not possess that letter presently.

On 2000 Dec 12 the Western Mohegan entered into a land-sale contract with a corporation Neil’s Mazel, Inc. which occurred on the basis of the tribe’s sovereignty [fn 15].

By letter dated 2001 Jan 11 the Secretary of the Army recognized the “government-to-government” status of our relationship with the United States [fn 16].

On 2001 Mar 06, by Order of the late Hon. Conrad B. Duberstein, our tribal status, in the Western Mohegan land-sale contract with Neil’s Mazel, was recognized and authorized by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York [fn 17].

On 2001 Jun 28 the Western Mohegan amended the original land-sale contract which again occurred on the basis of the tribe’s sovereignty fn 18].

On 2001 Jul 03 Judge Duberstein again authorized and recognized the Western Mohegan’s tribal status by Order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York [fn 19].

On 2001 Jul 10 Ulster County acknowledged full payment by the Western Mohegan in Ulster County’s Quit Claim deed [fn 20]. On 2001 Jul 10 Neil’s Mazel transferred its deed, with a lien written into and onto the face of the deed, to the Western Mohegan in exchange for a total promised payment of $950,000 on 2001 Oct 16 [fn 21].

The lien in the deed was written as “ other valuable consideration “ on page 2 of the deed.

“ other valuable consideration “ was defined in the Amended Mohegan / Mazel contract as:

“ NOW, THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY AGREED.....in consideration of ...other good and valuable considerations, as follows;...a promissory note...collateralized by a confession of judgment...” [which was the lien]. [fn 22].

On 2001 Oct 16 the Western Mohegan lived up to its promise and paid Neil’s Mazel the final Installment on $950,000 as evidenced by Neil’s Mazel’s Disclosure Statement to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York [fn 23]. In the face of mountains of evidence of our tribal status, contrary to a combination of New York and federal law our self-chosen representative is ignored and denied standing to represent us in court in a land dispute.

On 2010  Dec 16 the President remarked that: “ ...so long as [he] held office, never again would Native Americans be forgotten or ignored. (Applause) ”. Mr. President you also appeared proud to “..announce that the United States is lending its support to this declaration. (Applause). “

On 2012 Nov 01 the White House released a Presidential Proclamation in which it was said: “ For centuries, Native Americans faced cruelty, injustice, and broken promises.”

No doubt some of that injustice occurred in the court’s themselves by lawyers for the tribes themselves. The Western Mohegan faces one more of those broken promises and our representation is being ignored in spite all our federal agency letters and a property grant acknowledging our tribal status.Our chosen and trusted representative is not permitted to represent us in court in spite of the Administration’s unopposed support for Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration which says:

“ Indigenous people have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representative chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.”

We therefore ask the President for a second Executive Order. The second Executive Order should also direct federal agencies to recognize non-bar-admitted Tribal representation because:

[a] New York Indian Law § 11-a permits a Headman of a New York tribe to maintain a court action or proceeding in the tribe’s name to recover possession of lands unlawfully occupied and

[b] There is no federal law that directly legislates Native representation in court actions, and   

[c]    Who may represent whom has its source in state law, and

[d]    88 stat. 1931 directs when no federal law on a subject exists, state law provides the Federal Rule of Decision,

It appears that the position and policy of the Executive Branch that Headmen of New York tribes is, unless there is some prior agreement or superseding federal or state law, non-bar-admitted headmen or trustees are lawfully permitted in federal court to represent the tribe in recovering possession of lands unlawfully occupied.

Simply because we did not directly and concretely ask for an Executive Order directing the Publisher of the Federal Register to publish [a] the tribal status of the Western Mohegan and [b] Chief Roberts’ name in the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Chief’s Directory and non-bar-admitted respect, we continue to suffer.  

We believe, Mr. President, in light of [a] 25 U.S.C. §§ 2 or 9 or [b] Army recognition pursuant to 33 USC §§ 1 and 2338 or [c] Presidential recognition pursuant to Executive Order 13160 or [d] Department of Interior recognition by Supervisor Morgan or [e] the Congressional recognition letter of 1998 Aug 17 or [f] the combined weight of all these federal authorities that we merit three Executive Orders directing [a] The publishing our tribal status in the Federal Register and [b] The publishing of Chief Roberts name in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Chief’s Directory and [c] The policy and legal position of the United States is that under New York and federal law, tribes recognized by the State of New York are legally entitled to and possess standing to represent the tribe in recovering the possession of lands unlawfully occupied, unless there is a prior contractual agreement or unless a statute is enacted effectively repealing New York Indian law § 11-a..

In Chief Roberts’ speech before Secretary Caldera at the inaugural event of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative on 1998 Jul 30 at West Point, Chief Roberts, a direct descendant of this country’s Revolutionary War Veteran Force, referred to presenting the unity paddle to the President symbolizing the coming together of the races.

In 1783 George Washington wrote to all of us in this time and, in our respectful opinion, any President issuing an Executive Order directing the publishing of the formal recognition of the Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation of New York can, under 25 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 9, stand firmly, morally, rationally and lawfully on these words:

“ the Muheakunnuk tribe of Indians have remained firmly attached to us and have fought and bled by our side; that we consider them as our friends and brothers, and as a peace is now established between all the powers who were at war, we do recommend it to all the different tribes of Indians as well as all other persons inhabiting the western country, not to molest them in any manner but to consider them as friends and subjects to the United States of America.”

The Muheakunnuk appreciate your time and consideration in this urgent matter.   

 

[Enclosed To The President]

1 Exhibit 2 is President Clinton’s Executive Order 13160 dated 1997 Sep 11

2 Exhibit 19, Disclosure Statement, filed 2002 May 17 USBC EDNY, Ind. No. 00-22010, pg 5

3 Exhibit 13

4 Exhibit 3 is Governor Pataki’s recognition of the tribe thru attorney Judith Hard, the Governor’s Second Assistant Counsel, dated 1997 Jun 25

5 Exhibit 4 is the Memorandum Decision and Order recognizing the tribe, dated 1997 Jul 03

6 Exhibit 5 is Chief Roberts’ letter to President Clinton dated 1997 Aug 20

7 Exhibit 2 is President Clinton’s Executive Order 13061 dated 1997 Sep 11

8 Exhibit 6 is the DOI’s acknowledgment of the tribal status of the Western Mohegan dated 1998 Jan 20

9 Exhibit 7 contains Chief Roberts’ speech at West Point.

10 See Exhibit 7

11 Exhibit 8 is a joint Congressional letter to President Clinton dated 1998 Aug 17

12 Exhibit 9 is President Clinton’s formal acknowledgment of the tribal status of the Western Mohegan.

13 Exhibit 10 is a Federal Agency granted property right to enter our ancestral burial grounds at Houghtalling Island, Greene County, New York pursuant to 33 USC §§ 1 and 2338, dated 1999 Oct 14

14 Exhibit 11 is the unanimous Ulster County Resolution resolving the property to be “Indian Country”

15 Exhibit 12 is the Western Mohegan land sale contract on the basis of tribal status. 2000 Dec 12

16 Exhibit 13 , Army “government-to-government” relations letter dated 2001 Jan 11

17 Exhibit 14 is Judge Duberstein’s Sale Order directly recognizing the Western Mohegan, 2001 Mar 06

18 Exhibit 15 is the Western Mohegan land sale contract on the basis of tribal status. 2001 Jun 28

19 Exhibit 16 is Judge Duberstein’s second recognition of our tribal status dated 2001 Jul 03

20 Exhibit 17 is Ulster County’s certified deeded release of its land interest and acknowledgment of our $900,000 payment, Liber 3189 pg 191, dated 2001 Jul 10

21 Exhibit 18 is the certified deed transfer, dated 2001 Jul 10, to the tribe for the valuable consideration of a promise to pay a total of $950,000 by 2001 Oct 16

22 Exhibit 15, pgs 1 and 2

23 Exhibit 19 contains pages 4 - 5 of Neil’s Mazel’s Disclosure Statement acknowledging full payment  of $950,000 to Neil’s Mazel, Inc., by the Western Mohegan, dated 2002  May 15

 

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