25 U.S. Code § 1774 - Findings and purposes
Findings and purposes
(a) City of Salamanca and congressional villagesThe Congress finds and declares that:
Disputes concerning leases of tribal lands within the city of Salamanca and the congressional villages, New York, have strained relations between the Indian and non-Indian communities and have resulted in adverse economic impacts affecting both communities.
(2) Some of the significant historical events which have led to the present situation include—
beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, several railroads obtained grants or leases of rights of way through the Allegany Reservation without Federal authorization or approval and on terms which did not adequately protect the interests of the Seneca Nation;
after construction of these railroads, Allegany Reservation lands were leased to railroad employees, persons associated with the railroads, residents of the city and farmers without Federal authorization or approval and on terms which did not adequately protect the interests of the Seneca Nation;
none of these leases had Federal authorization or approval and, after the courts ruled these leases invalid, Congress enacted the Act of February 19, 1875 (18 Stat. 330), confirming existing leases of Allegany Reservation lands, authorizing further leasing by the Seneca Nation, and making the confirmed leases renewable for a twelve year period;
the Act of September 30, 1890 (26 Stat. 558), amended the 1875 Act by substituting a renewal term of “not exceeding ninety-nine years” for the original renewal term of twelve years; and
in 1952 the Seneca Nation filed a claim with the Indian Claims Commission against the United States for use of improper lease fees, and in 1977 a settlement was reached regarding such claim, providing for the payment of $600,000 to the Seneca Nation covering the period beginning in 1870 to the end of 1946.
An analysis of historic land values indicates that the payments made under the original lease agreement and under the settlement described in paragraph (2)(E) were well below the actual lease value of the property.
The approaching expiration of the Salamanca and congressional village leases on February 19, 1991, has created significant uncertainty and concern on the part of the city of Salamanca and Salamanca residents, and among the residents of the congressional villages, many of whose families have resided on leased lands for generations.
The future economic success of the Seneca Nation, city, and congressional villages is tied to the securing of a future lease agreement.
(b) PurposeIt is the purpose of this subchapter—
to effectuate and support the Agreement between the city and the Seneca Nation, and facilitate the negotiation of new leases with lessees in the congressional villages;
to assist in resolving the past inequities involving the 1890 leases and to secure fair and equitable compensation for the Seneca Nation based on the impact of these leases on the economy and culture of the Seneca Nation;
to provide a productive environment between the Seneca Nation and lessees for negotiating the leases provided for under the Agreement;
to provide stability and security to the city and the congressional villages, their residents, and businesses;
to promote cooperative economic and community development efforts on the part of the Seneca Nation and the city; and
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