From: Gary Hunt at the Outpost of Freedom on the Onondaga Reservation, New York
Date: October 8,1993 Phone: (316) xxx-xxxx
I have obtained a copy of the REGULATIONS GOVERNING BUSINESSES ON THE ONONDAGA NATION TERRITORY. This document, although undated, appears to have come into existence around April 1,1993, the day that the blockades began. Businesses that have existed for ten years are now subject to the rules established by the Council of Chiefs (although I can find no enacting paperwork). Portions of the REGULATIONS follow:
1 "No person may conduct a business on the Onondaga Nation Territory without a license . . . and . . . an agreement . . . specified in Section 5. ."
5 "Every person, as a condition of conducting any business . . . shall enter into a written agreement . . ."
6. "Every business, at its own expense and as a condition of its license, is required to submit financial statements prepared by a certified public accountant . . . [who] must be approved by the Council of Chiefs."
7. "Persons applying for a Business license must pay all monies owed to the Nation, including interest at the time the application is submitted."
8 "A person may apply to renew a license by submitting a current application."
9 ". . . any change in the ownership or control or the nature of the business, including offering additional or different merchandise for sale or doing business with other wholesaler vendors, will make the license null and void. . . . such change must submit a new application. In the event of death of a license holder, the license shall terminate . . ."
10. "Any person holding a Business License who files any legal action in any court against the Onondaga Nation or its representative may have his or her license revoked."
11. "All wholesale vendors, suppliers, . . must have a Permit, . . for a maximum period of one year . . .
14. [tobacco products will be purchased through Nation with check, check reissued to vendor, less taxes.]
26. "Any person who either introduces or attempts to introduce goods, for the purpose of trade, onto the Onondaga Nation or to trade or sell them without valid Onondaga Nation license or permit shall forfeit all merchandise introduced, offered for sale, traded or found in the persons possession or control and is liable to a penalty of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00)."
Now, as you review the above information you might wish to ask yourself who owns the business? Why would the licensor need to se financial statements? How does interest accrue prior to issuance of a license? Are Mom and Pop businesses worth opening if the death of either will terminate the business? Immunity, as provided by #10, would protect the Nation from any lawsuit. Considering what we have learned about "oral tradition," it gives an almost dictatorial power. Perhaps the need for the financial statement is a determination of "oral" fees.
Note, also, that there is no "grandfather" provision. Someone who has been in business for ten years can be refused renewal, without cause; if so directed by the Council (perhaps a Chief"s brother doesn’t want the competition). There is no security in the ability to continue operation, therefore it would be difficult for any reasonable businessman to make any long-term commitment to construct or improve property.
It is hard to imagine how destructive this "regulation" will be on any commercial enterprise, current or future, within the Nation. The ability to "regulate" trade and commerce is one thing, to " control" it, absolutely, is quite another.
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