In 1997 and 1998, the Oneidas re-purchased title to parcels of aboriginal land within Sherrill, New York, in open market transactions. Sherrill subsequently assessed property taxes, which the Oneidas ignored, asserting that the properties are contained within the Oneida Indian Reservation and therefore are considered to be "Indian Country", which is nontaxable by state municipalities. Sherrill sent the Oneidas notices of tax delinquency, held a tax sale where Sherrill repurchased the parcels, then initiated eviction proceedings. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York found in favor of the Oneidas. On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court and also found that the 1838 Treaty of Buffalo Creek, 7 Stat. 550, did not require the Oneidas to abandon their lands in the state of New York in exchange for land in Kansas, and further, that a reservation continues to exist even if a tribe ceases to exist and is protected under the Non-Intercourse Act. The Supreme Court must now assess the Second Circuit Court's interpretations.
This case consists of four separate questions, which ultimately address whether properties reacquired by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York are subject to taxation by the City of Sherrill, New York and Madison County, New York.
1. Whether alleged reservation land is Indian Country pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1151 and this Court's decision in Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Gov't, 522 U.S. 520 (1998) where the land was neither set aside by the federal government nor superintended by the federal government?
2. Whether alleged reservation land was set aside by the federal government for purposes of Indian Country analysis under 18 U.S.C. § 1151 and Native Village of Venetie Tribal Gov't where the alleged reservation was established by the State of New York in the 1788 Treaty of Fort Schuyler, and not by any federal treaty, action or enactment?
3. Whether the 1838 Treaty of Buffalo Creek, which required the New York Oneidas to permanently abandon their lands in New York, resulted in the disestablishment of the Oneida's alleged New York reservation?
4. Whether alleged reservation land may (i) remain Indian Country or (ii) be subject to the protections of the Indian Trade and Intercourse Act, or Non-Intercourse Act, 25 U.S.C. § 177, if the tribe claiming reservation status and Non-Intercourse Act protection ceases to exist?