ONEIDA ACTION NEWS CENTER
Oneidas evict four families
Those forced to leave include the aunt of nation leader Ray Halbritter.
July 30, 2003
By Glenn Coin ,Staff writer
who oppose the Oneida Indian Nation leadership are being evicted from their homes on Territory Road in Oneida.
"Those ordered to leave include Maisie Shenandoah, 71, a nation clan mother and the aunt of nation leader Ray Halbritter.
Eviction orders issued in the past few days by the nation government say the families must leave immediately, and that their homes will be demolished Aug. 20, said Diane Schenandoah, Maisie's daughter and one of those being evicted.
"The sad thing is that every one of the members of the Men's Council, including Ray, has come to my mother for help over the years," said Diane Schenandoah, who lives with four of her five children. "She has never refused to help. For her to be treated like this is a disgrace. I am ashamed of each and every one of them."
Schenandoah's sister, Danielle Patterson, and her three children were evicted last October. Patterson had
been arrested a year earlier after refusing to let inspectors inside and struggling with nation police.
Nation officials inspected five houses on Territory Road last month. They cited numerous problems, including faulty wiring, leaking roofs and no foundations,
Diane Schenandoah said. The family of Maisie Shenandoah and others on Territory Road say the nation deliberately wrote its housing laws to ensure that their homes would not pass inspection. For example,
houses must have foundations but residents are not
allowed to put foundations under mobile homes already on the territory, Diane Schenandoah said.
In a federal lawsuit filed last year, the families on Territory Road argue that the housing laws were aimed at them and were thus illegal. A federal judge has not yet ruled on the case. Nation spokesman Mark Emery declined to comment.
The nation gives members $50,000 toward new houses, but those evicted on Territory Road won't get any money. Their membership benefits were stripped after they spoke out against Halbritter's leadership several years ago.
Only one of the five homes passed inspection, residents said, and that was owned by a nation member in good standing.
A total of 15 people will be evicted, Diane Schenandoah said.
V icky Schenandoah, the sister of Diane and Danielle, said she expects to receive her eviction notice any day.She said nation leaders are improperly using profits from the Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona.
"The casino was created to benefit our Oneida people for jobs, education, homes and better housing, but in our case the casino money has been used to consolidate power by the use of a police force and to make us homeless," she said.
The casino made a profit of almost $70 million in the past fiscal year, according to nation documents.
Diane Schenandoah said she wasn't sure where they would live.
© 2003 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.
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