County lawmakers OK returning property to NY tribe

Syracuse, New York (AP) July 2011

County lawmakers in the Syracuse area have approved a non-binding resolution that could lead to the transfer of a publicly owned Onondaga Lake property to the Onondaga Nation.

The Onondaga County Legislature voted 11-8 in support of the resolution that would give a 36-acre parcel known as Murphy’s Island to the tribe.

The property on the lake’s southern shore is sacred to the Onondagas and other Iroquois.

The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that the transfer of the land to the tribe isn’t likely to occur anytime soon. The shoreline property is polluted with industrial waste. Lawmakers who voted against the resolution say they’re concerned about potential liability because of the pollution.

Tribal leaders have said the Onondagas would refuse the land transfer if the property isn’t cleaned up first.