Payments made for the past 205 years by New York State to the Cayuga Indians can be considered by a jury in calculating the amount of compensation the tribe can receive in its land-claim trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 10, U.S. District Judge Neal P. McCurn has ruled.
The Cayugas are seeking compensation for 64,027 acres in Cayuga and Seneca counties. The tribe contends that the state illegally seized the land from their ancestors.
The Cayugas, the state and federal governments and the two counties have been trying to negotiate a settlement under the guidance of a court-appointed mediator but have been unsuccessful.
According to Donald S. Allen, who has conducted extensive historical research into the claim, the state has paid the Cayugas more than $194,000 from 1795 to 1972.
Additionally, the state set up a $250,000 trust fund in 1913 to reimburse the Cayugas for the profits made by the state when it sold the former Indian land. The state also made a $182,000 grant to the Cayugas in 1948, and the federal government paid them more than $213,000.