N.Y. Native American Nation files petition against U.S.

Clan mother, Frieda Jacques, talks about illustrating the need for justice for her Nation. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON – Wanting to be a part of the discussion about future land use, environmental protections and equal rights, a Native American nation is filing a human rights petition against the U.S. government.

“We would like to be who we are without having to constantly protect ourselves and work to protect ourselves. We were seen as someone who needed to go away,” says Frieda Jacques, clan mother of the Onondaga Nation Turtle Tribe.

Even though the rain forced members in full traditional dress inside to announce their petition, Oren Lions, faith keeper for the tribe, says “Rain is a blessing.”

The group filed their petition Tuesday with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Leaders from the tribe, based south of Syracuse, N.Y., say they were forced to file the petition against the government after the Supreme Court denied the tribe’s appeal in 2013 to overturn the dismissal of a Land Rights Action.

Jacques says she wants the world to recognize harms done to her people.

“You can ignore and dismiss them, which is what has happened in the courts of the U.S., but the hurt is still there,” she says.

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