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Letter: Editorial had it wrong on Senecas and gaming

The Buffalo News editorial board opined on May 17 that the Seneca Nation should not be “rewarded with sports betting” while “the Senecas continue to renege on their contractual obligations.”

The Senecas are abiding by the compact by utilizing their right to go to the Department of the Interior, who have to rule within 45 days (certainly not an eternity).

The editorial also asserts that it was “the Western New York cities that provided the Seneca Nation with sovereign territory to build their gambling palaces.”

Two points. First, “gambling palaces” is an inflammatory phrase not worthy of The News. The casinos, proudly built by the Western New York union construction community, are tastefully designed and built for the gaming enjoyment of their patrons.

But what is incredibly galling is to assert that Salamanca, Niagara Falls and Buffalo “provided” the Seneca Nation with sovereign territory.

The Senecas have lived in Western New York for thousands of years. If anything, they “provided” the residents of those three cities, as well as all of us in Western New York, with the territory that we live on. They “provided” it through treaty chicanery and outright theft.

The Seneca Nation provides thousands of jobs to hard-working non-native taxpayers.

Their exclusivity zones, the backbone of the compact, have been broken before. To assert that the Seneca Nation should not be a stakeholder, a major stakeholder, for any and all gaming that occurs within these exclusivity zones is specious logic on steroids.

Sidney J. Horton, Ph.D.


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